The Modesto Nuts stood one strike away from victory Monday night before the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes erupted.
Reliever Luis Niebla walked Will Smith, and the Quakes followed with back-to-back singles to tie it in the ninth inning, then seized the 4-2 victory in 10 innings at Thurman Field.
The loss stung Modesto, which had won five of its last seven and was compiling its best run of the California League season. The Nuts (22-29 in the second half) trail first-place North Division-leading Bakersfield by six games with 19 games left.
Rancho Cucamonga took its first lead of the game on Erick Mejia’s two-run single in the 10th off Marc Magliaro (0-2). Quakes reliever Corey Copping (2-0) held Modesto hitless in three innings of work.
5 Hits by the Modesto Nuts on Monday night
The loss did not come at Ryan Castellani’s expense. The Modesto starter turned in his third straight impressive performance, blanking Rancho Cucamonga on only three hits while striking out six and walking no one over seven innings. He retired his final 13 batters.
The Nuts scored both their runs in the fourth. Drew Weeks stroked an RBI single, then scored on Ryan Stephens’ single.
Modesto opened a seven-game homestand with the first of four against Rancho Cucamonga.
Note – Nuts lefty Jack Wynkoop was named the Cal League Pitcher of the Week after his two wins. He allowed only one unearned run and struck out nine in 12 innings against Stockton and Inland Empire.