TRENTON, N.J. — It was between games of the Portland Sea Dogs’ doubleheader sweep of the Trenton Thunder on Saturday, and Mookie Betts found himself wondering why he just didn’t feel right with the bat in his hands.
“Right now I don’t feel too well at the plate,” he said before heading to take extra swings in the batting cage.
Of course, all Betts did in Game 1 was go 3 for 4 with a triple, three runs, four RBI and a walk to help the Sea Dogs to a 9-4 victory.
Then Betts went 3 for 4 again in the second game as Portland completed a sweep of the day-night doubleheader by coming from behind for a 4-3 victory.
It was the Sea Dogs’ first day-night doubleheader since a split against New Britain on May 17, 2008.
“He’s a fun, exciting player,” said Manager Billy McMillon of Betts, who has 23 multihit games in 53 starts. “He brings a lot of energy to the table, he works hard and he plays the game the right way.”
Betts, 21, played big roles in each win.
In a five-run fourth inning, he delivered the biggest blow, sandwiching a two-run triple off the wall in left-center field between an RBI single by Heiker Meneses and Deven Marrero’s sacrifice fly to put the opening game out of reach.
Portland tacked on a run in the sixth when Betts scored from third on a wild pitch, and added two more when – you guessed it – Betts was able to place a ball just inside the chalk in left field with two outs in the seventh off reliever Cesar Cabral.
The second game was more of a nailbiter.
Portland starter Mike McCarthy cruised through five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. After retiring 14 straight Thunder batters, Tyler Austin’s single and Gary Sanchez’s long two-run home run to left field helped give Trenton a 3-2 lead going into the top of the seventh and final inning.
But with reliever Fred Lewis on the mound, Bo Greenwell drew a one-out walk, setting the stage for Betts and his teammates.
Betts’ hard-hit double down the left-field line put both runners in scoring position for Marrero, whose single through the middle drove in both runners to put Portland back on top for good.
Trenton threatened in the bottom of the seventh inning when Rob Refsnyder smacked a leadoff double to right field off Noe Ramirez.
Dan Fiorito moved Refsnyder to third with a bunt one batter later, but Ramirez struck out Yeral Sanchez and Carmen Angelini weakly flew to short right field to end the game.
“That was a long day,” McMillon said. “That second game was really thrilling. We had a lead, gave it up and were able to rally in the last inning.
“These guys continue to battle. It would be easy for a ballclub to fold after giving up three (runs), but (Merrero) came through with the big hit and these guys worked their tails off tonight.”
NOTES: McMillon said right fielder Peter Hissey was removed from Game 1 for “precautionary reasons” after being hit in the helmet with a 90 mph fastball by Cabral in the seventh inning. Hissey didn’t play in the second game.