Tuesday, March 11, 2014
PORTLAND - The Portland Sea Dogs can continue to dream.
Bryce Brentz of the Portland Sea Dogs slides safely into home in the fourth inning Thursday night, scoring on a wild pitch. Not only did Brandon Moore throw the wild pitch for the Binghamton Mets, but he was injured covering the plate and was forced to leave the game.
Photos by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer
Peter Hissey, right, leads the cheers from the dugout Thursday night as the Portland Sea Dogs won again, moving within two games of .500 after a 36-54 record in early July.
WHO: Binghamton Mets (Gonzalez Germen 7-10) at Sea Dogs (Brandon Workman 2-0)
WHEN: 7:05 p.m.
TICKETS: About 2,100 remaining
Portland kept up its late-season surge Thursday night with a 14-9 victory over the Binghamton Mets before 6,384 at Hadlock Field.
Mike MacDonald (2-2) picked up the win with 6 2/3 innings of work. Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run homer. Jeremy Hazelbaker (4 for 6), Peter Hissey and Bryce Brentz all had two RBI. Travis Shaw's three doubles contributed to the 17-hit offense.
With 11 games left, the Sea Dogs (64-66) remain in fourth place in the Eastern League's East Division, 4½ games behind second-place Reading in the race for a playoff spot.
Portland did gain a game on third-place New Britain and is now 3½ games behind the Rock Cats.
How improbable is this run by the Sea Dogs?
Consider that Portland was 36-54 at the All-Star break on July 9, in last place and 14 1/2 games out of a playoff berth.
Since then the Sea Dogs have gone 28-12, including nine wins in their last 10 games.
"It's been a really good turnaround," Hazelbaker said. "First half of the season, it was always something with our pitching or hitting. Now we're pitching amazing and swinging the bats very well. We're very confident with how we're playing."
One damper to the evening was Bogaerts being hit in the left forearm by a fastball in the third inning. He went to first base and eventually scored, then came out of the game as a precaution.
Bogaerts, showing off a sizable bump on his arm after the game, said he hopes to be back in the lineup soon.
Bogaerts continued to display his 19-year-old might with a two-run opposite-field home run over the right-field wall in the second inning. In 13 games since being promoted to Portland, Bogaerts is batting .340 with four home runs and six doubles.
Hazelbaker is surging along with his team. After a slow start, Hazelbaker is batting .293 since June 1.
Brentz, batting .292, continues to lead the team with 71 RBI.
Shaw, promoted Aug. 1 to Portland, is batting only .219, but 12 of his 16 hits have been for extra bases.
MacDonald wasn't at his sharpest (eight hits, six runs), but he gutted out 110 pitches, protecting a bullpen that was used in 20 innings over the previous four games.
In other Eastern League games, Reading rallied to beat Erie 7-6 and New Hampshire defeated New Britain, 9-6. First-place Trenton beat Akron 3-0 and still leads by five games.
NOTES: Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (sprained ankle) likely will miss this weekend. The Sea Dogs hope he can return Monday. Shaw's three doubles tied a franchise record with several players. Before Thursday's game, a moment of silence was held for Tom Hill, an usher at Hadlock Field who died recently of a heart attack.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:
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Mike MacDonald gave the Sea Dogs just what they needed – not only a victory but lasting into the seventh inning, throwing 110 pitches to give the much-used bullpen a breather.