SAN JOSE, CA - Chase Johnson struck out 14 over six scoreless innings of long relief and rehabbing San Francisco Giants catcher Andrew Susac homered to lead the San Jose to a 3-0 victory over the Lancaster JetHawks on Friday night in front of 3,851 fans at Municipal Stadium. Angel Villalona also hit a home run while the shutout was the Giants' (58-59) 11th of the season.
Johnson (8-3), who entered the game to begin the top of the fourth, allowed just three singles and issued one walk during his dominant pitching performance to pick-up the win. The 14 strikeouts were a season-high for any San Jose pitcher and the most by a Giants hurler since the 2009 season. At one point in his start, Johnson struck out seven consecutive hitters while he finished the game with back-to-back punchouts.
San Francisco Giants right-hander Tim Hudson started for San Jose on a rehab assignment. The 17-year major league veteran worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings and surrendered just one single. Hudson, who retired eight out of the nine batters he faced during his 31-pitch outing, walked none and struck out two.
Susac (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI), who also singled, was the only Giants player to finish the game with more than one hit. Friday marked the fourth game of Susac's rehabilitation assignment with San Jose.
The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Villalona launched a towering solo homer to left. The home run was Villalona's ninth of the season.
Meanwhile, Hudson began his start with back-to-back perfect innings. He threw only 18 pitches over the first two frames. After San Jose moved in front, Hudson quickly retired the first batter of the top of the third. Edwin Medina then singled, stole second and moved to third when Susac's throw skipped into center for an error. Hudson though came back to strikeout Ruben Castro swinging for the second out. With Hudson then at his pitch limit, Jeff Soptic (1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO) was summoned from the bullpen and he quickly retired James Ramsay on a fly out to center to end the inning.
Johnson, the originally scheduled starter, was then summoned to begin the top of the fourth. Alex Bregman greeted the All-Star right-hander with a single, but Johnson recovered with three consecutive strikeouts of the 3-4-5 hitters - Derek Fisher, J.D. Davis and Ronnie Mitchell - to retire the side. Johnson then notched three straight swinging strikeouts in a perfect top of the fifth before striking out Castro to start the sixth - his seventh consecutive punchout. Ramsay followed with a groundout to short and after Bregman walked, Fisher flied out to left to end the inning and keep the score at 1-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, Skyler Stromsmoe reached on an infield single with one out before Susac stepped to the plate and crushed a two-run home run to deep left center. The homer, measured at 429 feet, pushed the San Jose lead to 3-0.
Johnson continued to roll in the seventh collecting three more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 frame. In the eighth, Mott Hyde beat out a roller to shortstop for a leadoff infield single. However, Johnson retired Medina on a groundout and then notched back-to-back strikeouts of Castro and Ramsay. In the ninth, Fisher lined a single to right with one out, but with the potential tying run in the on-deck circle, Johnson struck out Davis swinging and Mitchell looking to seal the victory.
JetHawks starter Bryan Radziewski (3-6) suffered the loss after surrendering three runs (all earned) on five hits over 5 2/3 innings.
* San Jose's 11 shutouts are second in the California League (Visalia leads with 12). The Giants boast the lowest team ERA in the league at 3.49.
* Johnson is 5-0 with a 0.94 ERA (5 ER/47.2 IP) in nine appearances (eight starts) since the All-Star break.
* Friday marked only Johnson's second relief appearance of the season (18 starts). He lowered his overall ERA to 2.43 - second in the league.
* Susac is 4-for-14 (.286) with a double, a home run and three RBI's in his four rehab games.
* The Giants out-hit the JetHawks 5-4.
* San Jose has won five straight games against Lancaster - all at Municipal Stadium.
* Hudson's 220 career wins leads all active major leaguers.
* The Giants (28-19) remained one game behind Visalia in the second half race, but moved to within one game of Stockton (59-58) in the Wild Card.
On Deck: The Giants and JetHawks continue their three-game series on Saturday evening with first pitch at Municipal Stadium scheduled for 6:00 PM. Jose Reyes (3-4, 7.19 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Lancaster is expected to counter with Keegan Yuhl (3-0, 1.58 ERA). Saturday is the eighth annual Italian Night at the ballpark presented by Sons of Sicily Aiuto Foundation. Municipal Stadium will be transformed with Italian themed vendor booths, traditional Italian food and music, raffles and giveaways. There will also be an in-game silent auction for the special Italian themed jerseys the players will be wearing, with winning bidders taking the field after the game to retrieve their jerseys off the respective player's backs. Tickets can be purchased by calling (408) 297-1435 or by visiting sjgiants.com.
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