September 1, 2010

Sea Dogs Stephen Fife's month of waiting comes to an end

Stephen Fife takes a no-hitter into the sixth and finally gets a seventh win, backed by three homers.

By Kevin Thomas
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Stephen Fife pitched a no-hitter in high school, although he admits the game was shortened by the 10-run mercy rule.

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Luis Exposito of the Portland Sea Dogs is tagged out by catcher Luke Montz of the Binghamton Mets during their game Tuesday night at Hadlock Field. The Sea Dogs used strong pitching by Stephen Fife and Ryne Lawson, as well as three home runs, to come away with a 6-0 victory.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Will Vazquez of the Portland Sea Dogs is welcomed by teammates Tuesday night after hitting a home run during a 6-0 victory against the Binghamton Mets at Hadlock Field.

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Tuesday night with the Portland Sea Dogs, Fife took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Binghamton Mets. But with one out, Raul Reyes grounded a single into center field.

Fife allowed two hits over six innings as Portland topped the Mets 6-0 before 4,572 at Hadlock Field.

Will Vazquez, Ryan Lavarnway and Luis Exposito homered for Portland. Lavarnway also had a sacrifice fly, and Anthony Rizzo contributed a two-run double.

Fife (7-6) won his first decision since July 18 and lowered his ERA to 4.80.

Using his fastball and maybe his best curve this season, Fife needed 45 pitches through five innings and 70 in all (52 strikes).

"He's in the strike zone early in the game and he was able to carry that on," Sea Dogs pitching coach Bob Kipper said.

Fife, 23, a third-round draft pick in 2008, didn't get to a three-ball count all night, and had only four two-ball counts. He was 16 of 20 in first-pitch strikes.

Reyes had a 2-2 count when he singled.

"Tried to execute a curveball down and in on Reyes and I left it up a little bit," Fife said with a shrug. "I never once have gone out with the thought of throwing a no-hitter. My job is to give us a chance to win."

Earlier in the year, Fife had a no-hitter broken up in Akron, also with one out in the sixth.

Binghamton starter Eric Beaulac (0-2) made his second Double-A start and left after one inning because of tendinitis trouble. He allowed three runs.

And then came the homers.

Vazquez hit his first Double-A home run in the second inning, to right field.

Lavarnway went deep to left- center in the fifth. It was his eighth home run with Portland and 22nd this year, counting 14 in Class A Salem. Lavarnway also has 95 RBI, best among Red Sox minor leaguers.

Exposito followed Lavarnway with a blast to right-center, his 11th this season. Exposito also recorded his 90th RBI, the most in a Sea Dogs season since Portland became a Red Sox affiliate in 2003.

Fife cruised with a 6-0 lead, and Ryne Lawson added three outstanding innings (one hit, 27 pitches) for his second save.

NOTES: Ryan Khoury had the at-bat of the game, starting with an 0-2 count. With nine foul balls, Khoury worked the count full and walked on the 15th pitch. With Chih-Hsien Chiang out with a sore wrist and Ray Chang on the disabled list with a broken finger, the Sea Dogs received outfielder Bryan Peterson from Lowell.

To determine a home run off the right-field wall, umpires must see if the ball clears a thin green line. On Monday, a Mets homer was changed to a double after the umpires conferred. Vazquez's homer Tuesday was discussed by Mets Manager Tim Teufel but not changed.

Teufel was later tossed out. After Luke Montz was thrown out for arguing a called third strike in the sixth, Teufel also was ejected.

The 2005 Sea Dogs featured future major-league pitchers such as Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester and David Pauley. No one made it to the majors faster than Manny Delcarmen. He was traded to Colorado on Tuesday.


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


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