NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Yamaico Navarro swatted a high fastball well over the centerfield wall of New Britain Stadium on Wednesday, sending the Portland Sea Dogs back to Maine with a three-game winning streak.

Navarro’s ninth-inning blast, followed by an unearned run, gave Portland a 3-1 win over the New Britain Rock Cats.

After a weeklong trip, the Sea Dogs (4-3) will open their home schedule at 6 tonight at Hadlock Field against the Trenton Thunder.

This is a talented group of Sea Dogs who finally will get to dig their cleats into Hadlock.

“It will be fun for the guys to get home,” Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler said, “especially for the new guys to get a taste of what it’s like to be around there and see all the people.

“The atmosphere at Hadlock is always fun.”

A lot of that fun should be provided by this group of prospects.

“This is an exciting team,” Beyeler said.

One of the exciting players is Navarro, 22, a third baseman/shortstop with pop in his bat.

With the score 1-1, Navarro fell behind on two fastballs for strikes. The pitches were borderline high, and Navarro let two other high fastballs go by.

The fifth pitch also came in high and Navarro went for it – and got all of it.

“He’s got tremendous bat speed,” Sea Dogs batting coach Dave Joppie said, “which he generates with strength and quickness in his hands.

“He’s made some tremendous adjustments of controlling the strike zone. Once he gets his confidence rolling, he’s a very dangerous hitter.”

Navarro’s blast and Jason Place’s earlier RBI on an infield single backed up another solid effort on the mound.

Starter Ryne Miller got a no-decision but put in five shutout innings, allowing three hits, a walk and a hit batter. He struck out one.

“I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes,” Miller said. “Got a lot of ground balls and pop flies.”

Miller’s fastball command was a little off, but his change-up worked well, and he dropped in a few curveballs. He needed only 64 pitches (43 strikes) and left with a 1-0 lead.

Robert Coello (1-1) relieved Miller and ran into bad luck in the sixth. He gave up a bloop single, then a double to right, putting runners on second and third with no outs.

Coello induced a pop-up to catcher Juan Apodaca. Then Chris Parmelee skied to shallow right.

Second baseman Nate Spears lost the ball in the sun as it dropped, scoring a run.

With runners still on first and third, Coello contained the damage with a strikeout and pop-up. He pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth.

Navarro’s blast off reliever Cole DeVries (0-2) made it 2-1 Portland. Lars Anderson (1 for 3, two runs) then walked.

Apodaca singled and both runners advanced on a fly to right. With two outs, Matt Sheely hit a grounder to third baseman Toby Gardenhire. He bobbled the ball and Anderson scored. Then Gardenhire threw the ball to second base — but no one was covering.

Jason Rice recorded a walk and a strikeout in the ninth to earn the save.

NOTES: Infielder Ray Chang left in the fifth inning after fouling a ball off his left ankle. Beyeler said he’s day to day. Shortstop Jose Iglesias, who was supposed to have the day off, filled in for Chang. Portland did rest two other starters – outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin (.304) and catcher Luis Exposito (.300). Apodaca, the backup catcher, went 2 for 4 and is 3 for 7 (.429) this season. Trenton (5-2), the affiliate of the New York Yankees, also played an early game Wednesday, beating Akron, 4-3. The gates will open at 4 p.m. for today’s home opener. The team introductions will begin at 5:50.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

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