Friday, March 7, 2014
PORTLAND — The wind was blowing out, and New Britain Rock Cats starter Deolis Guerra served up pitches like they were on a tee.
Portland's Vladimir Frias turns his hit into a double as he slides into second, where New Britain shortstop Chris Cates awaits the throw from right field Saturday.
Gordon Chibroski, Staff Photographer
Jonathan Hee of the Portland Sea Dogs delights the crowd Saturday while catching a foul pop in front of the third-base railing. It was a delightful day for the Dogs at Hadlock Field – four home runs in a 15-7 win over New Britain.
Gordon Chibroski, Staff Photographer
WHO: Portland Sea Dogs (Alex Wilson 4-1) vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Bobby Lanigan 2-2)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Hadlock Field
The results were predictable.
The Portland Sea Dogs walloped the ball, scoring 10 runs in the first two innings on their way to a 15-7 victory Saturday at Hadlock Field.
Chih-Hsien Chiang hammered two home runs, and Jon Hee and Ryan Lavarnway added long balls in the rout. Portland (10-16) stopped a three-game losing streak.
The Rock Cats (15-12) rocketed three home runs, chasing starter Brock Huntzinger in the fifth inning, negating his chance for a win.
Santos Luis (1-1) was credited with the victory with two-hit relief over 3 1/3 innings.
The game began at a blistering pace -- the first three hits were home runs -- and the Sea Dogs ended with 17 hits to New Britain's nine.
"They worked counts and even if they made an out, it was a tough out," Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. "They kept a real good approach. It's tempting to want to get big with your swing when you have the conditions we had."
Guerra (2-4), a right-hander who is on the Minnesota Twins' 40-man roster, had no command of his breaking ball, allowing the Sea Dogs to sit on his fastball. Guerra lost his fourth straight game and saw his ERA climb to 11.57.
Every Portland player reached base twice.
Chiang enjoyed a 3-for-5 day with four RBI. His two homers were both pulled into right field, one reaching the bullpen, the other the pavilion.
"The first one was a high fastball. The second one (off reliever Santos Arias) was a fastball and I was looking for it," Chiang said. Guerra "had a bad day today and we took advantage."
Chiang is batting .290 with three home runs and 11 RBI.
Hee, an infielder who hit one home run last year for Class A Salem, swatted his first Double-A homer, over the center-field wall.
"Just locked in on the fastball," Hee said. "Didn't see him throwing any off-speed for strikes."
Lavarnway went 2 for 4 and took the team lead in home runs with five. After a slow start, Lavarnway has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games, bating .291.
But offense hasn't been a problem for Portland. The Sea Dogs have taken leads before and lost them.
Huntzinger couldn't keep the ball down and gave up six runs over 42/3 innings. Chris Hermann, Joe Benson and Evan Bigley homered.
Luis quieted the Rock Cats except for a run in the eighth. Kyle Fernandes pitched a scoreless ninth for Portland.
NOTES: The paid attendance was 6,031. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks didn't play after being shaken up while diving for a foul ball Friday night. Still sore, Middlebrooks was able to take batting practice and could play today. Outfield Alex Hassan didn't play -- his first day off this season.
The annual Sea Dogs' Mother's Day 5K road race will be held at 9:15 a.m. today. Same-day registration opens at 7 a.m. The Sea Dogs will wear pink jerseys during today's game as part of baseball's breast cancer awareness promotion on Mother's Day. Today will be the last home game until May 17.
Former Sea Dogs did well for Pawtucket on Saturday. Nate Spears hit a home run and a double. Josh Reddick hit a three-run homer. Jose Iglesias went 3 for 4. And Blake Maxwell picked up his first Triple-A victory with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: email@example.com