PORTLAND — After a rout like the 13-5 decision the Portland Sea Dogs enjoyed Tuesday night against the Trenton Thunder, it’s easy to forget the early crucial plays.
Like when Sea Dogs starter Brock Huntzinger stood on the mound in the third inning. Portland led 3-2 with one out, runners on second and third, and Trenton’s power hitters coming up.
Huntzinger (4-5) struck out Cody Johnson and Bradley Suttle.
“Just making pitches,” said Huntzinger, who had his slider, fastball and change-up working.
“Guys were looking for a fastball after I threw an off-speed for a ball. I’d back it up with a change-up and get the swing-and-miss.”
Huntzinger finished with a career-high nine strikeouts over five innings. He allowed seven hits, two runs and one walk.
“There were a lot of long innings,” Huntzinger said. “I threw a lot of pitches (97) but I didn’t lose my direction.”
Portland’s offense provided plenty of backup, led by Reynaldo Rodriguez’s three-hit, five-RBI night, including a three-run homer to left-center.
Oscar Tejeda added two hits and two RBI. His solo homer followed Rodriguez’s in the sixth.
Rodriguez, 25, was called up June 11 from Class A. Originally with the Yankees’ organization, Rodriguez was released in 2008 and played independent ball until the Red Sox signed him after the 2009 season.
In eight games with Portland, Rodriguez is batting .273 with two home runs.
“I just keep working on my routine,” Rodriguez said.
Portland’s outpouring began against the Eastern League’s best pitcher, Dellin Betances (3-3). The Yankees’ top pitching prospect, Betances had been leading the league in ERA (1.76) until Tuesday.
Wild from the start, Betances gave up seven runs, six earned, on four hits, four walks, a hit batter and three wild pitches. He left with one out in the third.
“Nothing went right for him and he never could get on track,” Trenton Manager Tony Franklin said.
In the fourth, Tim Federowicz’s two-run double made it 9-2. Then came the back-to-back home runs in the sixth.
Relievers Kyle Fernandes (one run) and Eammon Portice (two runs) both pitched two innings.
NOTES: With two hits, Chih-Hsien Chiang has hit in 24 of his last 28 games, batting .364 (40 of 110). Chiang’s .312 overall average is second-best on the team to Alex Hassan’s 318. The Sea Dogs improved to 24-43 and Trenton dropped to 40-30, falling 21/2 games behind division-leading New Hampshire. The announced paid attendance was 4,901. In the tradition of their parent clubs, the Red Sox and Yankees, the time of the game was 3 hours, 36 minutes. Tonight’s promotion will feature the Zooperstars comedy act. Fireworks will follow Thursday’s game.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org