BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
If it were golf, the Bakersfield Blaze would be asking for a mulligan. A do-over for the first 11 days of the season.
But since baseball doesn't allow such things, the Blaze will instead refocus on the fundamentals of the game after dropping to 1-10 on Sunday.
The Blaze struggled all the way around during a 9-2 loss to the Stockton Ports at Sam Lynn Ballpark.
B.A. Vollmuth went 4-for-4 with two solo home runs, and a double for Stockton (8-3), which took command in the third inning with a seven-run outburst.
Vollmuth, who also had a single and a sacrifice fly, drove in four runs and scored twice.
"We just didn't do well," Blaze manager Ken Griffey Sr. said. "... It's tough to go out there and play every day and think you're going to do well when you're not hitting, fielding the ball, or even pitching. So it's a tough situation right now."
Ports starting pitcher Drew Granier (2-1) got the win. The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Louisiana native went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and four walks. He also had three strike outs.
Juan Silverio was one of the few bright spots for the Blaze. The hard-hitting third baseman ended up a home run short of hitting for the cycle.
He came to the plate in the ninth having already hit a single, double and triple, but was walked by Stockton reliever Pedro Vidal.
Silverio, who hit a home run against the Ports on Saturday night, drove in both Bakersfield runs.
In the second inning his triple, a low liner that skipped past Stockton centerfielder Bobby Crocker, put the Blaze up 1-0.
Two innings later, Silverio hammered a double into the left-field corner, scoring Juan Duran, who had drawn a two-out walk.
But by that time the Blaze was already well on its way to another painful loss.
"It's always frustrating when nothing is going your way," Griffey said. "I just take it a day at a time right now...I'm just going to go back and work on fundamentals and getting people back to where they belong."
For a second night in a row Blaze pitchers struggled with their control, issuing six walks.
Bakersfield starter Tanner Robles handed out four free passes before he was lifted during Stockton's third-inning offensive explosion.
Robles (0-3), who took the loss, gave up six earned runs on four hits during his 2-2/3 innings pitched.
The Blazed used five pitchers, including Sammy Diaz, who started the previous two games at third base and shortstop respectively. He hurled a scoreless ninth inning.
Bakersfield committed four errors. Among them was a costly dropped fly ball by centerfielder Yorman Rodriguez, that helped prolong the Ports' third inning.
Vollmuth began the Stockton rally, blasting a Robles offering over the left field wall. However, much of the damage done to the Blaze during the frame was self-inflicted, as three of the four batters Robles walked in the third, plus the one that he hit with a pitch, came around to score.
Blaze pitchers issued 11 bases on balls during a 4-3, 12-inning loss to Stockton on Saturday night.
"I don't know if they're pressing or what the case is, but we're not throwing strikes," Griffey said. "When you're behind all the time in counts and you got these guys like this team here (Stockton), that one through nine can hit a home run, and you got to throw the ball down the middle, you get hurt all the time. I will address the issue but we just have to throw strikes. We have to get ahead of the hitters instead of behind all the time."
The Blaze batting .200 as a team this season, had seven hits on Sunday. The Ports had nine hits and left 16 runners on base. Bakersfield stranded 12 runners on the base paths.
Blaze leadoff hitter Juan Perez went 2-for-4. He was the only Bakersfield player other than Silverio (3-for-3) to have multiple hits.