June 23, 2013

Barnes ends his drought in Sea Dogs' win

By DAN PFEIFFER Special to the Press Herald

TRENTON, N.J. - Matt Barnes showed a glimpse Sunday afternoon why he's one of the top prospects in the Boston Red Sox farm system, even on a day when he didn't have his sharpest control.

Barnes used his lively fastball to shut down the Trenton Thunder for five innings, and the Sea Dogs produced a 17-hit performance to secure an 11-0 victory in the finale of a three-game series at Arm & Hammer Park.

Barnes (4-4) issued five walks and needed 96 pitches to get through five innings, but he struck out eight and allowed only three singles to pick up his first win since May 6.

"I'm happy with it, but it wasn't something really good," Barnes said. "I need to have better control of the fastball. But I was able to make pitches when I had to, and I threw up five zeroes and gave the guys on our team a chance to win."

He left with a 2-0 lead, and then the Sea Dogs poured it on against Trenton's bullpen, scoring nine runs in the last three innings. Tony Thomas was 4 for 5 with three RBI, and Peter Hissey and Heiker Meneses each had three hits and scored three runs.

Portland took the lead right away against Trenton starter Sean Black (1-1).

Hissey led off the game with a single to right, then advanced to third on a passed ball and a flyout. He scored when Garin Cecchini's ground ball went through the legs of first baseman Andrew Clark.

The Sea Dogs were denied a chance to add another run later in the inning after loading the bases with only one out. J.C. Linares hit a fly ball to center fielder Slade Heathcott, who made a strong throw to the plate to nail Cecchini for an inning-ending double play.

Meneses made it 2-0 in the second inning with a home run to left field, his third of the season.

Portland broke it open in the seventh. A single by Hissey and walks to Shannon Wilkerson and Cecchini loaded the bases for Thomas, who hit a sacrifice fly.

Travis Shaw then smacked an RBI single into left field. Shaw advanced to second on the throw to the plate, and when Thunder catcher Jeff Farnham tried to nab Shaw he bounced the throw, allowing Cecchini to score.

The Sea Dogs sent 10 men to the plate in eighth inning, scoring five times on four hits, a pair of walks, a hit batter and an error. Wilkerson and Thomas each had an RBI single, Linares was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Kolbrin Vitek doubled home two runs.

Thomas added another RBI single in the ninth.

After Barnes exited, the Sea Dogs got stellar relief from Miguel Celestino, who allowed only one hit and struck out four in three innings. Rafael Perez pitched a scoreless ninth.

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