May 5, 2013

Sea Dogs walk off with win

Kolbrin Vitek’s bases-loaded walk forces in the winning run in the ninth inning.

By Kevin Thomas
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - The Portland Sea Dogs don't need a dramatic hit for their walk-off wins.

click image to enlarge

Portland’s Kolbrin Vitek gets caught in a rundown as the umpire keeps pace with him and New Britain infielder Reynaldo Rodriquez during Saturday’s game at Hadlock Field, won by the Sea Dogs.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Portland’s Tony Thomas slides around catcher Dan Rohlfing to tie the game at 1-1 after leading off the seventh inning with a double during Saturday’s 2-1 victory.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer


WHO: New Britain Rock Cats (Alex Meyer 2-1) at Portland Sea Dogs (Brandon Workman 4-0)

WHEN: 1 p.m.

WHERE: Hadlock Field

TICKETS: About 2,200 available

After winning on a fielding error in the bottom of the ninth on Friday night, the Sea Dogs beat the New Britain Rock Cats Saturday afternoon with a ninth-inning walk.

Kolbrin Vitek drew a bases-loaded, full-count walk for a 2-1 walk-off win before 4,656 at Hadlock Field.

Portland (18-9) has won seven straight, its longest win streak since 2008.

Vitek had both RBI for Portland. Reliever Brock Huntzinger (2-0) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.

To begin the bottom of the ninth, New Britain reliever Edgar Ibarra (1-2) walked Juan Carlos Linares. Two wild pitches put Linares on third base. Ibarra intentionally walked Tony Thomas and Michael Almanzar to load the bases, to create a force at home.

New Britain brought in a new pitcher, Jose Gonzalez. Vitek worked a full count and then walked on an outside pitch.

"Just trying to stay relaxed as possible, pick up the pitch, and put it the ball play," Vitek said. "But he left (ball four) way out."

Knuckleball pitcher Charlie Haeger started for the Sea Dogs, allowing one hit and one unearned run over five innings.

Haeger, 29, a veteran with 34 major league games on his resume, was signed by the Red Sox in July 2011 after being released by the Seattle Mariners. He started eight games for the Sea Dogs that year but underwent Tommy John surgery after the season and missed all of 2012.

Haeger made two starts in Pawtucket (1-0, 2.79) in April before joining the Sea Dogs this past week.

Rock Cats leadoff batter Antoan Richardson got the only hit off Haeger, singling to center on a full-count fastball. He stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball.

In the second inning, three Haeger walks loaded the bases with one out. He escaped with two strikeouts. Haeger retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced (hitting the other).

"The ball was moving really well today and it was tough to locate," Haeger said. "Just have to make an adjustment on the fly and I was able to do that."

Meanwhile New Britain starter Trevor May was slicing through the Sea Dogs. May, once the Phillies' top pitching prospect, came to the Twins organization in the Ben Revere trade before 2013.

Through six innings, May gave up only one hit -- Thomas' slow bouncer over the mound in the fourth.

Thomas led off the seventh. He took a 3-1 pitch that was outside but was called a strike. Thomas hit the next pitch to deep center for a double.

Michael Almanzar grounded out to the second, advancing Thomas to third base. With the infield in, Vitek hit a slow grounder to second baseman A.J. Peterson. Thomas scored, tying the game 1-1.

Will Latimer pitched three scoreless innings after Haeger. Then came the ninth and another Portland win.

NOTES: Xander Bogaerts was scratched because of a potential (but undivulged) injury. After the game, Bogaerts said he was fine. The Sea Dogs were last nine games over .500 in August 2008.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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