PORTLAND — How does Sea Dogs pitcher Chris Hernandez (4-6) lead the team in both losses and earned-run average?
Because in those six losses, Portland has been shut out four times and totaled three runs in the other two defeats.
On Tuesday, the Sea Dogs made sure they would not waste another Hernandez gem.
Portland pounded out 16 hits, enjoyed a nine-run fourth inning and beat the Harrisburg Senators 14-0 before 4,610 at Hadlock Field.
Oscar Tejeda hit a grand slam. Jeremy Hazelbaker had a two-run homer. Derrik Gibson and Ryan Dent had two-run singles.
That was plenty for Hernandez, who pitched a five-hit shutout over seven innings, striking out three and walking two.
“He’s pitched so well,” Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. “We’ve struggled scoring for him, so that was good to see.”
And the Sea Dogs were teeing off on one of the best pitchers in the Eastern League. Left-hander Danny Rosenbaum (7-3) entered with a 1.94 ERA.
But in the fourth, the first 10 batters reached, nine of them scoring. Tejeda hit a slider off the message board in left-center for his first slam, and fifth home run this year.
“Just put a good swing on it,” said Tejeda, who left after seven innings with a bruise on his leg from a foul ball. He’s expected back today.
The support was plenty for Hernandez, who got 13 outs on grounders. All five hits were grounders to the outfield.
“When he’s going out there to pitch, you have to be ready,” said Gibson, the shortstop who made plays on six grounders.
Hernandez lowered his ERA to 2.64, sixth-best in the league. All three strikeouts came on curveballs, which was his fourth-best pitch of the night.
“The change-up was working well, and the fastball and cutter were working real well,” said Hernandez, who isn’t bothered by the six losses. “It doesn’t matter. I’m just trying to keep my team in the game.”
Chris Balcom-Miller made the first relief appearance of his four-year pro career. He pitched a one-hit ninth with two strikeouts, and will now be a part of Portland’s bullpen.
Dent finished 3 for 4. Bryce Brentz went 2 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI double. Gibson reached four times on his single and three walks.
NOTES: Anthony Ranaudo was slated to start, but Boles said his turn in the rotation is being skipped as part of the Red Sox routine scheduled rest for their pitching prospects. The Roanoke Times reported that outfield prospect Jackie Bradley will report to the Sea Dogs after the Carolina League All-Star Game, which was Tuesday night. The signing of infielder Marquez Smith is a result of Kolbrin Vitek’s extended stay on the DL (since May 23) because of a back rib muscle strain.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: firstname.lastname@example.org