PORTLAND – Perhaps if Travis Shaw’s parents had insisted on tap dance lessons in his youth, the Sea Dogs third baseman might have been able to brush the bag with his right foot as he fielded a high chopper and prepared to throw to first for what could have been a rally-killing double play.
As it was, Shaw managed to get the batter, leaving runners at second and third and preserving Portland’s one-run lead.
That lead turned out to be short-lived, because Joe Bonfe followed with one of his four hits — a two-out, two-run single — and the visiting Binghamton Mets never again trailed in an 8-5 victory over the Sea Dogs Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field.
“He got us an out,” said Sea Dogs starter Drake Britton, of Shaw’s near-fancy footwork. “That’s what’s most important.”
Despite the loss, the Sea Dogs (24-17) remain in first place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division by a game over Binghamton (24-19), which took two of three in the weekend series. Portland has lost six of nine games and will continue its homestand Monday night against New Hampshire.
On a gray Sunday, Binghamton and Portland combined for 24 hits and six errors, three for each team. Two of Portland’s miscues led to three unearned runs, which proved to be the difference.
In the first inning, an errant pickoff attempt by Britton resulted in a two-base error and allowed Cesar Puello to stroll home on a two-out single for a 1-0 lead.
In the ninth, with Binghamton clinging to a 6-5 lead, Sea Dogs left fielder Tony Thomas drifted back to the warning track for a two-out fly ball off the bat of Darrell Ceciliani. Thomas held up his glove but the ball bounced out of it, resulting in two runners scoring.
“It’s unfortunate because earlier in the game he made a real nice throw to cut down that runner at the plate,” said Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles. “He’s been doing some good things out there (as a converted infielder). I think that ball just got caught up in the wind a little bit. I’m surprised it traveled that far.”
Thomas ended Binghamton’s three-run sixth with a strong no-bounce throw to catcher Christian Vazquez to easily catch Wilfredo Tovar attempting to score from second base on a single.
Second baseman Heiker Meneses also made two gems in the field, leaping high to snare a line drive in the fifth, an inning after ranging far to his right to snare a Ceciliani grounder and making a jump-throw for the out, thanks to a nice scoop by first baseman Michael Almanzar.
“Two very athletic plays,” Bole said. “(Meneses) also got a couple hits (Sunday). He’s coming along nicely.”
Meneses sparked Portland’s game-tying three-run rally in the third with a single up the middle. A Peter Hissey double, a Xander Bogaerts single and an Almanzar sacrifice fly made it a 3-3 game. The Sea Dogs went ahead 4-3 in the fifth when Hissey tripled and scored on a wild pitch.
“They’re in first place for a reason,” said Binghamton Manager Pedro Lopez. “They do a lot of things right, offensively and defensively and with pitching.”
Britton (3-5) departed in the sixth after Bonfe’s two-run single, having allowed seven hits, struck out four, walked two and hit a batter. He retired 10 of 12 in one stretch, with the only hit a harmless two-out double to shallow right by Bonfe that Hissey lost in the clouds.
“I felt like I stayed in the strike zone, but didn’t make a pitch when I needed to,” Britton said. “I put the team in a hole. They did an awesome job of battling back after all the runs I gave up. That’s the way it goes — you miss your spot, you get hit.”
Binghamton starter Cory Mazzoni (2-1) pitched into the seventh, departing with a 6-5 lead after an RBI double by Bogaerts. It was the 10th and last hit of the game for the Sea Dogs, whose bats were silenced by relievers John Church and Jack Leathersich.
Binghamton has won six of seven, with the only loss coming Saturday night when Portland’s Matt Spring delivered a walk-off grand slam for a 10-7 Dogs victory.
Paid attendance was announced as 6,306.
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: