June 9, 2011

Dogs bullpen falls apart in 9-3 loss

Portland wastes a strong outing by Brock Huntzinger,
and has a six-game win streak stopped.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - During the major league draft this week, general managers gambled with early-round picks on high school players. How well will the kids adjust to pro baseball?

click image to enlarge

Portland's Oscar Tejeda slaps a tag on Richmond's Johnny Monell as he slides into an out that ended the top half of the second inning at Hadlock Field in Portland on Wednesday.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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TODAY'S GAME

WHO: Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eric Surkamp 3-3) at Portland Sea Dogs (Alex Wilson 5-3)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Hadlock Field

TICKETS: 2,500 available

Brock Huntzinger, 22, was such a pick a few years ago, out of Pendleton Heights High in Indiana. The Red Sox picked him in the third round, in 2007.

Lately, Huntzinger is looking like a solid choice. He allowed only one run over six innings Wednesday night for the Portland Sea Dogs.

But the Portland bullpen gave up eight runs as the Richmond Flying Squirrels topped the Sea Dogs 9-3 at Hadlock Field.

Portland managed seven hits, including Tim Federowicz's booming two-run homer over the left field Monster in the eighth inning.

The loss ended the Portland's undefeated June, and their six-game winning streak. The Sea Dogs dropped to 20-37. Richmond is 28-30.

Huntzinger recorded his second straight stellar outing since coming off the disabled list because of a blister-like cut on his right middle finger.

On Wednesday, he allowed five hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Huntzinger's fastball was consistent at 93-94 mph, his slider was effective and an occasional change-up added variety.

"This is a guy who is starting to become interesting with the way he's attacking the zone," Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. "We're seeing some good signs out of him."

Before going on the disabled list, Huntzinger carried an 8.44 ERA in eight starts. In his past two starts, he has a 0.75 ERA (one run in 12 innings).

"I guess you get to a point where you get sick of getting kicked around, time and time again," Huntzinger said. "I was beating myself as much as anyone was beating me, and I knew that.

"Sitting on the DL is never fun. But I got some time off. Threw some extra sides. Figured things out a little bit."

While Huntzinger was hot, so was Richmond lefty Ryan Verdugo (4-1), who gave up one run in seven innings. He had a no-hitter through 32/3 innings, until Federowicz's shallow fly ball dropped between the shortstop and center fielder.

Huntzinger gave up a single and double in the fourth for Richmond's first run. Portland countered in the sixth with singles by Chih-Hsien Chiang, Jon Hee and Oscar Tejeda (RBI).

Huntzinger left after 88 pitches (59 strikes). Reliever Cesar Cabral (1-4) allowed five of the first six batters he faced to reach, as Richmond scored twice in the seventh.

Richmond broke it open in the eighth with six runs off Seth Garrison, including Charlie Culberson's three-run homer.

Caleb Clay finished the game for Portland, allowing one hit over 1 1/3 innings. 

NOTES: Jeremy Hazelbaker stole his eighth base in nine attempts (19 games) when he took second base in the fifth inning. ... Chiang's single extended his hitting streak to eight games, and 18 of his last 20 games. ... Federowicz's home run was his fifth of the year. He has 33 RBI, second to Ryan Lavarnway's 34. ... Former Portland catcher Luis Exposito was called up to the majors, joining the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Exposito is the 12th former Sea Dog on the Boston roster. ... The announced paid attendance was 4,473. 

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

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

 

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