Monday, March 10, 2014
By Glenn Jordan firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND - To make a living pitching baseballs, it can be helpful to forget.
Just ask Binghamton reliever John Church or Portland starter Kyle Kaminska.
Church wiped away the sting of a game-ending wild pitch in Tuesday night's 10-inning Sea Dogs victory by earning the decision Wednesday night as the Mets beat Portland 8-6 at Hadlock Field.
"I was upset (Tuesday night), obviously," Church said. "That was kind of a bad way to go out. But you have to forget about it. Otherwise, it's going to carry over."
Church (1-3) faced only six batters Wednesday night but he stranded the potential tying runners in the sixth inning of a game Binghamton had led 8-0.
One night after rallying from a five-run deficit to win their fifth in a row, the Sea Dogs (11-8) nearly overcame an even larger margin.
"We almost did it again," said Portland Manager Kevin Boles. "The character of this group, the way they never quit, the way they manage their at-bats, that was fun to watch. It was very encouraging to see them fight back like that."
Binghamton (11-9) roughed up Kaminska (0-3) for eight hits in the first two innings, including a three-run homer by Allan Dykstra and a three-run double by Darrell Ceciliani. Josh Rodriguez and Cory Vaughn each added a run-scoring double.
With a depleted bullpen, Boles left Kaminska in the game to try and work through his difficulties, and Kaminska responded by retiring 10 of 12 before giving way to Pete Ruiz and Miguel Celestino, who combined for 41/3 innings of hitless relief.
"It was a rough start for him," Boles said, "but he finished on a good note."
Kaminska's ERA rose from 7.53 to 9.00, but he was able to find some positives in his performance.
"I knew I had to do something to turn it around and make it better than it was," Kaminska said. "I started moving it in and out, mixing in some off-speed behind in the count and trying to keep them out on their front foot and making weak contact into the ground."
Meanwhile, the Sea Dogs chipped away at the eight-run deficit. They scored three in the third, one in the fifth and two in the sixth to pull within two. A double by J.C. Linares, a triple by Tony Thomas and Xander Bogaerts flare to right-center misplayed into a triple provided the sparks.
At 8-6 with Bogaerts on third and two outs in the sixth, Church came on in relief. He walked Linares before getting Thomas to bounce into a force to end the threat.
"Even though he lost the ballgame (Tuesday) in the 10th, he's still one of the guys I have a lot of confidence in," said Binghamton Manager Pedro Lopez.
Jeff Walters held the Sea Dogs to one hit over the final two innings to earn his sixth save. Michael Almanzar, Peter Hissey and Thomas each had two of Portland's 11 hits.
The loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Sea Dogs, who had stood alone atop the EL East for the first time since May 2, 2008.
"Whether it's 8-0 or 0-0, it's the same mentality," said Linares, with Bogaerts providing translation. "Keep the mind positive and in every situation that comes, try to make it work."
NOTES: The paid attendance was announced at 3,039. ... The promotion to Boston of reliever Daniel Bard leaves Portland with a roster of 24, one below the Double-A maximum.
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: