May 26, 2013

Portland Sea Dogs toss chance away

An error in the 10th inning prevents Portland from stretching its division lead to four games.

By TOM ROBINSON Special to the Telegram

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - The Portland Sea Dogs got the grounder they needed but the Binghamton Mets got the win.

The Mets managed just three hits in 10 innings Saturday night but pulled out a 3-2 victory with the help of a Sea Dogs error.

Portland Manager Kevin Boles issued an intentional walk to set up an inning-ending double play in the 10th with cleanup hitter Allan Dykstra coming up.

Dykstra hit a slow grounder to first baseman Travis Shaw, who looked toward second and determined he couldn't get the double play. Shaw then tried to flip the ball to losing pitcher Will Latimer, who was in a race with Dykstra to get to first base.

When the ball got away, Danny Muno scored the winner and Shaw was given an error.

"Once he looked and realized he didn't have the play, he made the right decision," Boles said. "It was just unfortunate."

Muno walked to start the 10th and took second on a Josh Rodriguez sacrifice.

Rodriguez used both extremes to follow up Muno's walks and spoil a big night by the Sea Dogs, who appeared ready to stretch their division lead to four games. His two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth erased a 2-0 Sea Dogs lead.

Portland managed just three base runners against Binghamton starter Logan Verrett, but they came in succession in the third inning to produce two runs and a lead the Sea Dogs carried for much of the night.

Well-placed grounders by Matty Johnson, Shannon Wilkerson and Xander Bogaerts produced consecutive singles and combined with a throwing error gave the Sea Dogs two runs.

Verrett, who was seeking to become the Eastern League's first seven-game winner, retired the first eight, seven by strikeout. He had fanned five straight when Johnson got the Sea Dogs started.

Verrett (6-2) settled right back in to retire the final 13, with only three balls leaving the infield.

In addition to their three ground-ball singles, the Sea Dogs found another way to counter Verrett -- a comparable pitching performance.

Drake Britton, Rafael Perez, Pete Ruiz and Latimer combined on the three-hitter.

Britton, who had lost his previous four starts against Binghamton, gave up two hits, walking four and striking out four in five scoreless innings.

"Britton had a pretty nice start for us and I thought Verrett was very impressive," Boles said. "He doesn't throw anything straight."

Perez, a veteran of 338 big-league games, was signed to a minor-league contract by the Boston Red Sox and assigned to Portland on Saturday. He was 1-0 with a 2.25 earned-run average in four games and four innings for Triple-A Rochester before being released by the Minnesota Twins' organization earlier in the week.


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