By: Dave Grant
PITTSBURG, Calif. – The Admirals fell behind early for the second consecutive night and this time were unable to recover as they fell 12-9 to Pittsburg at Winter Chevrolet Stadium on Saturday. Vallejo was down 3-0 after two innings, only to tie the game at three in the third but watched as the Diamonds scored seven unanswered runs – including a six-run fourth – to take control and hold on for the victory.
The Admirals got to within 10-7 in the sixth, but the Diamonds added two late runs to seal the win. With the loss, the Admirals fell to 6-14 this season, while the Diamonds improved to 10-9.
Pittsburg took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after an RBI ground out by Ordomar Valdez scored Javier Garcia, after Garcia had singled and went to third on a two-base throwing error by Admirals starter Joe Watson.
The Diamonds extended the lead in the second inning after a two-run home run by Wes Wallace scored Yiecok Calderon, who had led off with a double to right.
The Admirals tied the game in the third inning after an RBI sac-fly by Chevy Clarke and a two-run double by Chris Fornaci. Vallejo sent nine hitters to the plate in the third, but left the bases loaded against Pittsburg starter Angel Lara when Gerald Bautista struck out.
Vinny Guglietti drove in Valdez with a single in the third to give Pittsburg a 4-0 lead and extended the advantage in the fourth inning after a pair of three-run home runs from Chad Highberger and Guglietti. The Diamonds sent 10 hitters to the plate in the seven-run fourth, which included two walks by Admirals starter Joe Watson, an error and a hit batter.
With Pittsburg leading 10-3, Watson exited with one out in the fifth inning and two runners on base for the Diamonds. Watson’s night ended prematurely for the third time in four starts as he allowed 11 hits, 10 runs (eight earned) with three walks and three strikeouts through 4.2 innings.
Tillman Pugh brought the Admirals closer in the sixth after a grand slam plated Bautista, Deybi Garcia and Pedro Perez. It was Pugh’s third home run of the season and first grand slam.
Down 10-7 in the seventh, Vladimir Gomez doubled and was pushed to third on a fly-out by Bautista. Perez drove in Gomez from third with a line-drive single to right to bring the Admirals to within 10-8. Vallejo left runners on first and second in the seventh after Clarke flied out to left.
The Diamonds added a run in the seventh after a sacrifice fly from Garcia drove in J. J. Wagner and another run in the eighth after an RBI single by Wallace that plated Calderon.
Gerald Bautista scored for the Admirals in the ninth inning after a ground out by Perez, but it was as close as Vallejo would get. Watson took the loss for the Admirals and fell to 0-3 this season and Pittsburg’s Lara improved to 2-1 this year with the victory.
The third and final game of the series is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT Sunday at Winter Chevrolet Stadium. David Dinelli (0-1, 6.19) is slated to start for the Admirals and left-hander and former Admiral Dennis Neal is the scheduled starter for the Diamonds. The Pregame Show on the Admirals Baseball Network is set for 4:45 p.m. with Dave Grant, Tim Fitzgerald and Daniel Barrera.
NOTES: Pugh hit the first grand slam of his Admirals career in the sixth inning … Pugh went 3-for-4 and now has a five-game hits streak … Derke extended his hitting streak to five games with a pair of singles … Lara struck out five of the first six Admirals hitters that he faced and finished with seven strikeouts in his five innings … Garcia went 3-for-5 and now has three multi-hit games this season.