Wednesday June 27, 2012 | 01:11 AM

With their 5-1 win over Toronto, the Red Sox improved to 39-35, 6.5 games behind the Yankees (45-28), 2.5 behind Baltimore (41-32) and only one behind Tampa Bay (40-34).

Today at 1:30 p.m., Jon Lester (4-5, 4.48 ERA) goes against Toronto lefty Ricky Romero (8-1, 4.34).

On the Chicago watch, Kevin Youkilis went 1-for-4 in his second game with the White Sox, while Anthony Rizzo got called up to the majors for the first time in 2012, going 2-for-4 for the Cubs, with a double and RBI.

Pawtucket lost as former Sea Dogs pitcher Billy Buckner lasted 4 2/3 innings (8 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 6 K) ... Good to see shortstop Jose Iglesias off the DL, even if he went 0-for-5.

The Sea Dogs went 13 innings with New Hampshire (4 hours, 10 minutes), losing 5-3. Four Portland players accounted for all 12 hits - 3 apiece from Jackie Bradley Jr., Jeremy Hazelbaker, Derrik Gibson and Peter Hissey ... Reliever Josh Fields retired 10 of 11 batters he faced.

Bradley was impressive in his at-bats, reaching base 5-of-7 times. He worked the count full five times and saw a total of 45 pitches in his 7 plate appearances.

In the 7th inning, with Portland threatening, New Hampshire brought in lefty side-armer Aaron Loup to face Bradley. Left-handers are hitting .225 against him. Bradley took a called first strike, fouled off the next two pitches, took a ball, and then bounced a ball to third, beating the throw for an infield single.

In six games in Double-A, Bradley is batting .360 (9-of-25), with a .448 on-base percentage.

For more, see the game story.

Salem also went 13 innings, but with a 6-5 win. Shannon Wilkerson (.297) went 3-for-6, including the game-tying RBI double in the 9th ... Michael Almanzar (.290) led off the 13th with a double and eventually scored on Sean Coyles's RBI single.

Greenville's catching prospect, Blake Swihart, went 1-for-4, but is still hitting .320 in June (.256 overall). Swihart turned 20 in April.

2012 first-round draft pick Deven Marrero hit his first home run for Lowell. He's batting .500 (6-for-12).

The Sea Dogs play at 7 p.m. tonight. Jeremy Kehrt gets the spot start.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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