May 21, 2012

Mets 11, Sea Dogs 7: Good hitting, bad defense

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - The Portland Sea Dogs pounded out 12 hits, including four from Bryce Brentz, and got home runs from Jeremy Hazelbaker and Reynaldo Rodriguez.

click image to enlarge

Sea Dogs third baseman Kolbrin Vitek tags out Binghamton’s Raul Reyes on a stolen-base attempt Sunday during Portland’s 11-7 loss at Hadlock Field.

Photos by Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Kolbrin Vitek can’t hold on to the ball as Binghamton’s Pedro Zapata takes third base on a throwing error after stealing second. Zapata had two stolen bases and scored three runs in Binghamton’s 11-7 victory.

TODAY'S GAME

WHO: Sea Dogs (Anthony Ranaudo 0-0) vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Brett Cecil 1-2)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Manchester, N.H.

RADIO

: WPEI, 95.9-FM, 95.5-FM

They walked seven times and benefited from two Binghamton Mets errors.

It wasn't enough.

Binghamton put runners on base, too, and did a better job bringing them home. The Mets topped Portland 11-7 Sunday afternoon before 6,474 at Hadlock Field.

The Sea Dogs lost another series and dropped to 15-27. Binghamton inched over .500 at 21-20.

Portland's pitching did not come through. The defense committed four errors. And the offense left 11 runners on base. Binghamton stranded only five runners while scoring in eight of nine innings.

"We didn't attack the strike zone and we didn't protect the baseball early in the game," Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said.

"Our offense showed a lot of guts. We're still in the game, even though the opposing club scores in every inning but one."

Rodriguez's team-leading ninth home run was a three-run shot, high off the center field wall in the seventh inning. Portland scored once more in the inning to close to 9-7.

But the Mets kept scoring.

Chris Balcom-Miller (2-4) had his roughest outing in a month, allowing five runs (three earned) over four innings. He gave up four hits and five walks.

"He lacked command. He lacked a feel for his mix (of pitches)," Boles said. "He never got into a groove."

Brentz, who went 5 for 5 last Sunday in Trenton, was 4 for 4 before grounding out in the ninth inning.

After batting .216 in April, Brentz is hitting .426 (24 for 61) in May, raising his average to .302.

"Just staying back up the middle," Brentz said. "Coming in, I got a lot of off-speed stuff. Just keeping a short and simple approach."

And Brentz is laying off off-speed pitches away from the plate.

"He's managing the strike zone. I think that's the main thing," Boles said. "He's working counts and he's earning his fastballs. He looks a lot better, a lot more balanced at the plate.

"Both (Brentz and Rodriguez) have been outstanding for us."

Rodriguez has hit safely in 13 of his last 16 games, with eight home runs.

The Sea Dogs begin a four-game series tonight in Manchester, N.H., and return to Hadlock Field on Friday for a series against New Britain.

NOTES: With starting pitcher Stolmy Pimentel off the disabled list, pitcher Chris Martin has moved from the rotation to the bullpen. He is 3-3 with a 4.71 ERA in eight games (one of them in relief of Daisuke Matsuzaka). ... Eight of Rodriguez's nine home runs have come in May, tying a franchise record held by John Roskos, Kevin Millar, John Hattig and Ryan Lavarnway. ... The Sea Dogs are still a player short on their roster, with only 24. Catcher Dan Butler (strained quadricep) is close to coming off the disabled list.

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

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

 

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