March 11, 2010

A big little thing

KEVIN THOMAS

— By

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John Patriquin/ Staff Photographer:Tuesday, April,14, 2009. Portland's starting pitcher Junichi Tazawa during action as the Portland Sea Dogs host the New Britain Rock Cats at Hadlock Field tonight.

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John Patriquin/ Staff Photographer:Tuesday, April,14, 2009. Portland's #17 Iggy Suarez makes a out on New Britain's #40 Wilson Ramos at second but is late to first as the Portland Sea Dogs host the New Britain Rock Cats at Hadlock Field tonight.

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The big names came through: Junichi Tazawa pitched fine and Josh Reddick smacked another home run.

But it was third baseman Jorge Jimenez sticking to the basics that preserved the Portland Sea Dogs' 4-3 win over New Britain on Tuesday night at Hadlock Field.

With the tying run on third and two outs in the ninth inning, Steve Tolleson hit a hard grounder to third. Jimenez remained in front of the ball. It bounced off his glove but he was able to pick it up and just beat Tolleson, with a throw that first baseman Lars Anderson scooped out of the dirt.

''I stayed with the ball and made the play,'' Jimenez said. ''Anderson made a good pick.''

Portland (4-2) won its third straight. The Rock Cats dropped to 1-5.

Tazawa (1-1) lasted six innings, allowing four hits, one run and two walks. He struck out three.

''He's got good stuff and keeps you off balance,'' said New Britain third baseman Danny Valencia, who homered of a Tazawa fastball in the sixth.

''His fastball is a little above average and he has a really good curveball. He mixes it up well.''

Valencia watched a called third strike on a curve in the first.

Tazawa primarily has pitched out of the stretch, but went to a quick windup from the second inning on.

''Maintaining the balance is difficult compared to the stretch,'' Tazawa said through an interpreter. ''I'm still trying.''

Tazawa also tried to mix in more sliders with his fastball-curve combo. He even tried one splitter.

Portland gave Tazawa a 4-0 lead. Reddick led off the bottom of the first, fouling off a pair of 2-2 pitches, then sending a fastball out of the park to right-center.

Reddick has homered in his last four games, tying Kevin Millar's franchise record (July 18-22, 1997).

''I just tried to have a good at-bat and see some pitches, try to be a typical leadoff hitter for once,'' said Reddick, who is working on his pitch selection. He went 1 for 3 with a walk and is batting .381.

Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said Reddick ''probably had some of the best at-bats we've seen him have. He got into some counts.''

In the third, Anderson (double) and Aaron Bates had RBI hits. In the fourth, Jimenez singled in Jon Still (2 for 2) for his team-leading sixth RBI.

New Britain rallied in the ninth off new reliever Justin Herod. After two walks, Brian Dinkleman hit a two-out sinking liner to right. Bubba Bell dove and it bounced by him for a two-run triple, closing the score to 4-3.

But Jimenez made the next play.

NOTES: Herod, 26, replaced starter Ryne Lawson (stiff shoulder) on the active roster. Portland reliever Richie Lentz (shoulder inflammation) has been out four days but expects to pitch today. In other injury news, two former Portland pitchers were hurt in Triple-A. Clay Buchholz tweaked a hamstring muscle and could miss a start, and Devern Hansack suffered a separated shoulder. Sea Dogs catcher Mark Wagner threw out another base-stealer. He is 5 of 7 this year. The paid attendance was 4,080.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

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