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Modesto opens 2010 season with a win
Juan Nicasio pitched through an impressive 5 2/3 innings in a 4-2 win over the San Jose Giants on opening night at John Thurman Field in Modesto on Thursday. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
MODESTO — As the majority of the 4,427 fans made their way out of John Thurman Field on Thursday night, the sky was lit up with fireworks. It was a rainbow of colors and people watched in awe, mouths opened. This display was, yes, icing on the cake.
Minutes earlier, the Modesto Nuts wrapped up their first game of the 2010 season with a 4-2 win over the San Jose Giants in California League action of the high-class A team of the Colorado Rockies organization. The Nuts did it in front of a sellout crowd and the second-largest crowd in opening night history.
And it wasn’t much to have the fans shift their stares toward the sky, since they were doing that all night. The Nuts had 10 hits against the defending league champions and the highlight was Tim Wheeler’s home run over the right-field fence to lead off the seventh inning, prompting him to do a victory lap that helped seal the game at that point, with the 4-2 advantage and strong pitching to back it up.
“Any win is good,” Nuts manager Jerry Weinstein said, “but on opening night is better.”
And he wasn’t afraid to say that his team did well in every aspect of the game, especially on the mound. Juan Nicasio impressed the crowd with five strikeouts through nearly six innings before Adam Jorgenson came in to relieve and earn the save.
“I thought we pitched very well,” Weinstein said. “I thought we were very aggressive.”
The Nuts boasted an early 2-0 lead before committing an error and a sloppy play at third base that helped the Giants to tie the game. But Modesto then broke the tie in the fifth when San Jose’s Eric Stolp gave up three hits and one run.
Michael Mitchell had a 2-for-3 day with two runs scored, as he led off the bottom of the first with a single to right. He later scored on a groundout to third by Ben Paulson. Also, Thomas Field was 2-for-2 with one run in his Modesto debut.
And then came the fireworks, in a figurative sense, thanks to Wheeler’s solo shot in the seventh.
Game over, though Wheeler was up with the bases loaded in the Nuts’ final at-bat. He wasn’t thinking about a grand slam. Instead, he was happy with giving the organization’s second-largest crowd on opening night a win.
“It’s good to win any day,” he said.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.