PORTLAND – When the Boston Red Sox promoted top prospect Xander Bogaerts from Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket early Thursday, the Sea Dogs said good-bye to one of the most impressive hitters to play at Hadlock Field.
They miss him.
Since Bogaerts’ departure, Portland has scored seven runs in three games.
The Akron Aeros pitchers combined for a five-hitter in a 6-2 victory over Portland, before 5,282 at Hadlock Field.
Travis Shaw hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning to avoid a shutout.
Akron starter Jordan Cooper (3-2) perplexed the Sea Dogs again. In his last start on June 8, Cooper allowed a leadoff single to Portland, and no more hits over six innings.
On Saturday, Cooper carried a no-hitter into the fifth, until Kolbrin Vitek’s two-out double.
Cooper exited with two outs in the sixth, having allowed no runs and three hits. He struck out seven.
“He had all his pitches working,” Akron catcher Jake Lowery said of Cooper’s fastball, change-up, cutter and curveball.
Cooper, a ninth-round draft pick in 2010, was originally drafted by the Red Sox in the 17th round in 2008, but opted to attend Wichita State.
The Sea Dogs rank seventh in the 12-team Eastern League in batting (take Bogaerts’ numbers out and Portland ranks 11th).
“We need to get the offense going, no doubt about it,” Portland manager Kevin Boles said. “I think we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves, trying to do too much.”
Mike McCarthy (0-1) took the loss in his Double-A debut. Called up from advanced Class A Salem Saturday, McCarthy went 62/3 innings for the Dogs, allowing four runs on nine hits.
McCarthy, 25, was a 14th-round draft pick in 2011 out of Cal State-Bakersfield. He was 3-2 in Salem with a 4.72 ERA. Portland needed another starter because Matt Barnes is skipping his turn in the rotation — a common practice in the Red Sox organization to give their pitchers extra rest in the season.
McCarthy took the roster spot vacated by reliever Brock Huntzinger, who was promoted to Pawtucket.
Akron did its damage in the third inning with one out. McCarthy yielded a single and a walk, before Jesus Aguilar and Carlos Moncrief hit back-to-back home runs for a 4-0 lead.
“He left some pitches up in the third inning, but to settle in and give us the length that we needed was really huge for us,” Boles said.
The Aeros scored two insurance runs off Chris Balcom-Miller in the ninth.
NOTES: Before the game, a moment of silence was held for B.J. Hannigan, a Portland native and former Sea Dogs employee who was killed in a plane accident last Nov. 16. Hannigan’s family, who were present at Saturday’s game, have established a scholarship in B.J.’s name to his alma mater, the University of Maine. Go to www.william-hanniganscholarship.com for details. … McCarthy’s future with Portland is unclear. He could stick with the the Sea Dogs as a reliever, or go back to Salem. A lot depends if Huntzinger remains in Pawtucket. … Another pitcher who reached Pawtucket, Brandon Workman, allowed one earned run over 6 1/3 innings Saturday for the PawSox, striking out nine. Huntzinger pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with one strikeout.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: