Thursday April 11, 2013 | 06:29 AM

Red Sox fans may be moaning about Joel Hanrahan's blown save Wednesday night, but followers of Baltimore utility player (and Portland native) Ryan Flaherty have to smile.

With the Orioles down by one, with two outs in the ninth and the bases empty, Flaherty came to bat. He had begun the season in an 0-for-17 slump, including three strikeouts Wednesday.

"Very frustrating," Flaherty told Roch Kubatko of masnsports. "Three strikeouts on the day and hadn't had a hit yet, so you know, I've got to keep fighting and keep battling, find a way to help the team win and try to build off that.

"I got up there and tried to be aggressive right away."

Flaherty singled to keep the Orioles alive. Two walks, a wild pitch and a home run later, and Baltimore was ahead for good.

In Portland, catcher Christian Vazquez began the season 0-for-12. There is a spotlight on Vazquez this year. He is on the 40-man roster. He defense appears major-league ready. Now the Red Sox are hoping his bat comes along.

As we write in today's story, Vazquez had two hits Wednesday, a double and a 3-run homer. He also threw a base-stealer out. Drake Britton, another 40-man guy, pitched a four-hitter over six innings, with no walks.

Salem got production from a couple of its bonus babies. Third baseman Garin Cecchini, who signed for $1.3-million in 2010, remains hot with a 2-for-4 effort, upping his average to .435. First-baseman David Renfroe ($1.4-million in 2009) went 4-for-4 with a home run.

In Greenville, reliever Jeffrey Wendelken is one to watch. From the same high school and junior college in Georgia as Josh Reddick, Wendelken, 20, struck out the side for his first save Wednesday. He has a 0.00 ERA in four innings so far, striking out five.



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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