The Modesto Nuts scored three late runs to make a Sam Howard masterpiece stand up for a 5-2 win Friday night in San Jose. The lefty Howard (2-1) went seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on four hits while striking out 10 against no walks to notch his second win of the season and give the Nuts a series-opening victory.
Modesto got on the board in the first with an RBI single by Ronnie Jebavy, only to see San Jose come back to tie it up in the bottom of the second. The Giants went ahead in the bottom of the fourth when 3B Jonah Arenado left the yard for the fifth time this season.
Single runs in the fifth and seventh innings put the visitors back on top and Howard was back in position the get the win for his strong effort. A two-run rally in the eighth saw SS Luis Jean double in two runs for all the insurance the Nuts would need, providing the final margin at 5-2.
Howard is on the fringe of the Colorado Rockies’ prospect list, sitting at #24 by MLB.com and #25 by Baseball America. His first pro season in 2014 had some pretty big rough spots but the Georgia Southern alum had a solid second-half in low-A Asheville last year. He’s alternated good and bad starts with Modesto over his last few outings, but Friday night’s effort was clearly his best of the season, and the first one in which he has finished the seventh inning.