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Stompers let game get away

The Sonoma Stompers couldn’t overcome an early Pittsburg lead Wednesday night, and fell 5-4 to the Diamonds.

Sonoma starter Scott Plaza struck out nine in five innings, allowing two runs as Pittsburg starter Cory MacDonald allowed just five hits through six.

The Diamonds scored their first run on an error by Stompers first baseman Scott David, but David neutralized it by driving in the first Sonoma run.

“You’ve got to give (MacDonald) some credit, he only gave up a couple of hits to us, but we were able to apply pressure” Plaza said.

Plaza did not let the game get away from him, but MacDonald kept the Stompers’ offense off the board from the third until the sixth. Joel Carranza put the Stompers within one run in the sixth, scoring on a throwing error before another David RBI drove in the tying run.

“We know that we’ve got a good-hitting team,” Plaza said. “We have a lot of faith in our guys, that even when we’re down 3-0 or 5-4, we’re going to come back and they’re going to pick us up.”

Pat Lemmo replaced Plaza and made quick work of the Diamonds, fanning two in his first inning of work. He retired the first five hitters he faced before a few base hits and a walk gave Pittsburg its two-run lead back.

The Stompers threatened in the seventh, scoring on a wild pitch and loading the bases.

Jacob Cox was excellent in relief Wednesday for Sonoma, allowing just one hit in two innings of relief.

Tuesday, starter Juan Espinosa pitched a complete-game shutout and struck out seven as the Stompers beat the Diamonds, 5-0.

“Everything (was working for me,)” Espinosa said. “My cutter was on, my curveball was on, and when I needed my fastball it was there.”

It is Espinosa’s third solid outing in a row. In his last three starts, Espinosa has walked only three, allowed just one earned run, given up 12 hits and has 22 strikeouts. On Tuesday, he threw first-pitch strikes to 30 of the 34 batters he faced.

“We just stuck to a game plan today. We talked about it in the first inning and executed all day, stayed extremely focused. Espy did an unbelievable job of doing that through all nine innings,” said catcher Isaac Wenrich.

The game was a pitchers’ duel in the early on, as Dennis Neal went 6-2/3-innings, striking out three and allowing two earned runs. His only blemish on the scoreboard was a two-run home run from Carranza in the first inning.

“You could tell, the first two innings, we were jumping at the first two pitches and it worked out,” manager Takashi Miyoshi said.

In his last game at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark, Carranza also hit a three-run homer in the first inning. His shot Tuesday is his second homer in two games, as Carranza also sent one over the fence in Sunday’s matchup with the Vallejo Admirals.

The shot on Tuesday was the 51st of Carranza’s Pacific Association career. He leads the league all-time in career HR.

The Stompers fall to 22-7 at first in the Pacific Association while the second-place Diamonds improve to 16-13.

The Stompers host Vallejo this weekend with a 6 p.m. game Friday and 5 p.m. games on Saturday and Sunday. Next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Sonoma travels to Pittsburg for a series before returning home July 14 for another three-game series with Pittsburg.