July 8, 2013

Sea Dogs nipped by New Britain in duel

New Britain’s Virgil Vazquez flirts with a no-hitter to beat Portland newcomer Terry Doyle in a fast game at Hadlock.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Two hours, five minutes.

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Portland Sea Dogs shortstop Derrik Gibson (15) forces out New Britain Rock Cat Josmil Pinto (36) at second base and makes the throw to first for a double play in the eighth inning at Hadlock Field in Portland on Monday, July 8, 2013.

Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

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Portland Sea Dogs first baseman Travis Shaw (21) makes an over-the-shoulder catch to record an out in the sixth inning vs. the New Britain Rock Cats at Hadlock Field in Portland on Monday, July 8, 2013.

Jill Brady / Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

The time of the game spoke of the experienced pitchers' command Monday afternoon at Hadlock Field, as New Britain Rock Cats starter Virgil Vazquez out-dueled Portland's Terry Doyle in a 2-1 New Britain win.

Portland, shut out for eight innings, scored a run in the ninth on Garin Cecchini's RBI single and had runners on first and third with one out. But Vazquez got a strikeout and then a line-drive out to right field.

Both pitchers had been in Triple-A until recently, and Vazquez has also logged some big-league time.

Vazquez (1-2), who has pitched in the majors with Detroit and Pittsburgh, carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and ended up allowing four hits, one walk and one run, while striking out nine over nine innings.

Doyle (0-1) pitched eight innings in his Sea Dogs debut: seven hits, two runs, two walks, five strikeouts.

He allowed two solo home runs, to Daniel Ortiz and Jordan Parraz, which made the difference.

"Both Doyle and Vazquez utilized their pitches and were very efficient," Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. "Outstanding performances."

Doyle, 27, had just come down from Triple-A Pawtucket. Doyle is a New England product -- Salem (N.H.) High and Boston College -- who signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox this year after coming up through the White Sox system.

Chris Balcom-Miller relieved Doyle in the ninth and threw a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.

Vazquez signed a minor league contract with the Twins this season. He last appeared in the majors in 2009. Vazquez moved on to the Rays organization in 2010 and, for the previous two years, was pitching in the independent leagues.

Using his curveball more, Vazquez held Portland hitless until Derrik Gibson's line drive single to right, with one out in the sixth inning.

In the ninth, Gibson led off with an infield single on a check-swing dribbler. With one out, Peter Hissey singled up the middle. Cecchini following with a grounder to center field, scoring Gibson, and sending Hissey to third base.

But Vasquez struck out Tony Thomas on a 2-2 curveball, and Michael Almanzar lined out to right.

The Sea Dogs (45-42) enter the All-Star break in second place in the Eastern League East Division, a game ahead of third-place Trenton (45-44) and two games ahead of the Rock Cats (44-45). Boles is pleased with the record, but likes the player development more.

"We've had some guys who earned promotions to Triple-A. That's the biggest thing," Boles said. "We want to keep feeding the Triple-A club and, potentially, the big-league club."

Pitchers Brandon Workman, Drake Britton, Chris Martin and Brock Huntzinger, along with shortstop Xander Bogaerts, have gone up to Pawtucket this year.

After the two-day All-Star break, Portland will head out on a seven-day road trip to Binghamton and New Hampshire, starting Thursday against the Mets. The Sea Dogs return to Hadlock Field next Thursday, July 18.

NOTES: Relief pitcher Jeremy Kehrt was sent up to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he began the year.

To replace Kehrt, the Sea Dogs received reliever Gerardo Olivares from low Class A Greenville. Olivares, 24, was a catcher in the Rays system. The Red Sox acquired him before last season and converted him into a pitcher. Olivares had a 5.81 ERA in Greenville.

Cecchini, with a single and walk, is batting .414 with a .521 on-base percentage in 16 games.

The defensive play of the game was an eighth-inning 4-6-3 double play, with Thomas diving for a grounder and flipping the ball out of his glove to Gibson. He caught it bare-handed and threw to first.

New Britain manager Jeff Smith is managing the East team in the Eastern League All-Star Game on Wednesday. Smith had already named Portland's Anthony Ranaudo as his starting pitcher. On Monday, Smith said the Sea Dogs' Christian Vazquez will be the starting catcher.

Monday's announced paid attendance was 4,983.

Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

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Additional Photos

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Portland Sea Dogs pitcher Terry Doyle warms up in the second inning vs. the New Britain Rock Cats at Hadlock Field in Portland on Monday, July 8, 2013.

Jill Brady / Staff Photographer

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Grey Roessler, 7, of Florence, Mass., shows her dad, Jo, far left, how a baseball that was tossed to her by a Portland Sea Dogs player bonked her on the cheek during Monday's game vs. the New Britain Rock Cats at Hadlock Field in Portland, July 8, 2013. In addition to her dad, Grey was with her mom, Nora, and her twin brother, Gerrit, 7.

Jill Brady / Staff Photographer

 


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