Hayley M. Slye / Director of Media Relations
Thurber allowed five hits and issued just one walk in seven innings pitched, keeping the Diamonds scoreless in that span. He played all of last season with the Stompers and headed to the American Association before returning to Sonoma.
“In a close ball game like that, you want to make sure you’re making your pitches and staying dialed in. When the game is on the line, it can be turned over just like that,” Thurber said.
Sonoma threatened to score several times, but left 12 players on base. Six different Stompers recorded base hits in total Tuesday, but Joel Carranza was the only one to cross the plate. Carranza delivered a soaring home run to left center field in the first inning.
“In a game like this, we need him,” said Manager Takashi Miyoshi. “I’m just not surprised at all. This is who he is. This is the reason why we won the Championship last year.”
On the Pittsburg side, starter Corey McDonald’s only blemishes were Carranza’s dinger and four hits. The Pittsburg bullpen kept Sonoma scoreless in the last three frames despite issuing four walks.
The game ended with a flourish, as Jacob Cox made an excellent play on a high chopper to field the last out of the game.
“It’s a thrill watching him finish it off like that. I trust him all the way,” Thurber said.
Cox retired the Diamonds in order and earned the six-out save.
“He started studying about hitters in the bullpen,” Miyoshi said. “Now, he takes a memo every time he’s in the bullpen and how he prepared for the game changed him for the better.”
The Stompers play their next five games against Pittsburg and improve to 24-10 on the season in first place, while the Diamonds drop to 20-14 at four games back. Sonoma has to win just one more game in order to clinch the Pacific Association first-half title.
“Before we came here, I told them ‘play like family, stick together.’ I didn’t even talk about the numbers tonight because I’m really satisfied with what they have done this season. I have no complaints. I trust them a lot and if like play just like they have been, they’re going to win. We just have to stay the same team,” Miyoshi said.
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