BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The Portland Sea Dogs’ top prospects were rewarded Monday for their roles in more than three months of outstanding baseball by the team.
Hours after five players were selected for the July 16 Eastern League All-Star game, the Sea Dogs suffered one of their worst defeats of the season.
Second-place Binghamton scored seven times in the first three innings and cut the gap to seven games in the Eastern Division with an 11-4 rout.
“I challenge you to show me a team that goes 162-0,” Sea Dogs Manager Billy McMillon said of his division-leading team, which started the day with the second-best winning percentage among full-season teams in minor league baseball.
Starting pitcher Brian Johnson, one of the All-Star selections, gave up three earned runs in the first inning, more than in any of his previous 11 starts at Double-A.
Johnson (7-2) left after allowing a season-high seven runs on eight hits.
Travis Taijeron led the 15-hit Binghamton offense by going 3 for 5 with two homers, three runs and four RBI.
“It was good to see our team go out there and do what we did tonight,” Taijeron said.
T.J. Rivera, Jacye Boyd and Xorge Carrillo also had three hits, and Brandon Nimmo joined Taijeron in producing three-run homers.
Rivera tied the team record with three doubles.
The Sea Dogs managed nine hits, including five for extra bases, but were unable to work back from deficits of 7-1 after three innings and 11-3 after six.
Derrik Gibson had a double, triple and RBI. Michael Brenly had two doubles, driving in two runs with one and scoring after the other. Dave Chester, who scored twice, and Michael Almanzar, who had a double, also had two hits.
Gibson was among the players picked for the All-Star game, joining Johnson, pitcher Henry Owens, infielder Sean Coyle and catcher Blake Swihart.
They will be part of the 24-man Eastern Division team that will take on the Western Division in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
“It’s been great to be on this team,” said Gibson, the center fielder and leadoff hitter who has played infield and outfield positions. “I have to thank my teammates for putting me in good positions to be able to make the team.
“The same could be said for the other four guys. A good team puts you in a good spot.”
Gibson batted .404 in June and is ninth in the league with a .323 average.
The all-star selection is the second of the season for Owens and Coyle, who already were chosen to play for the U.S. team against the World in Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game at Target Field in Minnesota.
Owens leads the league in wins (12), earned-run average (1.03), complete games (three), shutouts (two) and strikeouts (111).
Coyle is hitting .348 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI in 60 games, and is about to reach the minimum at-bat total to emerge among the league’s batting leaders.
Swihart is hitting .294 while leading the league by throwing out more than 53 percent of those attempting to steal bases against him.
Johnson’s ERA rose from 1.73 to 2.64.