PORTLAND — Boston Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron certainly didn’t go through the motions during his rehab appearance this week at Hadlock Field.

He interacted often with teammates, sharing his wisdom.

He recognized the fans and spent considerable time signing autographs. He even jumped into a game of musical chairs on Sunday.
And, oh yeah, he won Sunday’s game for the Sea Dogs.

Cameron cracked a walk-off home run to begin the bottom of the 10th inning, giving Portland a 7-6 win over Trenton before a sold-out Hadlock Field crowd of 7,368.

Cameron raised his fist as he passed first base, watching the ball disappear beyond the left-center wall. He was mobbed by teammates at home plate.

“That was cool, man. That’s the reason why you still play the game,” Cameron said. “It’s still fun to go out and be a part of something like that, no matter what (level) you’re playing at.”

As Cameron talked in the clubhouse, catcher Luis Exposito snuck up behind him and slapped a paper plate of shaving cream on top of Cameron’s bald head, to the cheers of the Sea Dogs.

Cameron laughed and then kept talking, with the mountain of cream on his head. He truly was having a good time – including joining in the game of musical chairs for young fans in front of the Sea Dogs dugout before the fifth inning.

“I just try to enjoy the opportunity,” Cameron said. “When you play the game, you try to have some fun with it.”

Cameron went 3 for 5, including a double, and scored twice. In the 10th, he worked a full count against Trenton reliever Paul Bush (0-2).
“I saw him throw a few breaking balls to some other guys 3-and-2,” Cameron said. “I wanted to make sure I was ready for anything. I just reacted to the fastball and got enough of a swing on it.”

The homer helped negate a Trenton comeback.

The Sea Dogs had a 6-2 lead after a six-run fifth inning, paced by a two-run double by Nate Spears and a two-run single by Exposito.

Portland right-hander Robert Coello made his first minor league start. A former catcher who was converted to a pitcher in 2007, he had never gone more than three innings this season, but he lasted five innings on Sunday, allowing a Brandon Laird homer, four hits and a walk. He struck out six.

“Just took it one pitch at a time,” said Coello, who is now Portland’s fifth starter, replacing the promoted Felix Doubront.

Coello was in line for a win after the big fifth inning. But the lead disappeared quickly.

New reliever Mitch Herold entered in the sixth. Herold issued only four walks in Class A, but gave up three walks and four singles in a five-run inning as Trenton tied it 6-6.

Herold pitched a scoreless seventh, then Santo Luis (3-1) took over and pitched three hitless innings, with one walk and three strikeouts.

After playing a doubleheader Saturday, the Sea Dogs had no pitchers left. Cameron saved Portland from using an everyday player on the mound in the 11th.

“You don’t know how big that home run was,” said Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler, whose bench was already short because of injuries.

Third baseman Ray Chang sat out after fouling a ball off his inner thigh Saturday. Outfielder Ryan Kalish could be out longer. He suffered a bruised forearm Saturday when he was hit by a pitch, then tweaked a muscle in his hip on the game-ending groundout.
The injuries come at a time when Portland faces 22 straight games without a day off.

The Sea Dogs left after the game for Reading, Pa. They return Friday to Hadlock after a Thursday night game in Reading.

“We take an eight-hour bus ride and play some games and get back on the bus for an eight-hour ride to play some games,” Beyeler said. “It’s going to be a grind for the next couple of weeks.

“These are the parts of the season where you either hold your own or fall back and fold up. It will be a tough stretch for the guys. We’ll see what we’re made of.”

NOTES: Cameron said he will fly to St. Petersburg, Fla. today to join the Red Sox. There was no word on when he will be activated. … Herold, 23, joined the Sea Dogs from advanced Class A Salem. A 16th-round draft pick out of the University of Central Florida in 2008, he was dominating in Salem with a 1.05 ERA in 252⁄3 innings. … The Sea Dogs play at Hadlock again Friday at 7 p.m.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]