Sunday, April 20, 2014
By ALLEN LESSELS Special to the Press Herald
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Sea Dog infielder Travis Shaw struggled at the plate on Wednesday night.
He ripped the ball Thursday.
Shaw had four hits, including a home run and a pair of doubles, to lead a 15-4 Portland pounding of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
"I'm watching his BP, he was really impacting the baseball," said Manager Kevin Boles. "He just had a different look to him in batting practice today and he carried it over into the game."
Shaw was fired up.
"I needed to respond after last night," Shaw said. "Last night was a rough night."
He struck out three times in Wednesday's 5-4 loss.
"Oh-for-three with three punchies," Shaw said. "I felt pretty locked in and got pretty good results in the middle of the field."
He had plenty of help.
Portland collected a season-high 18 hits and the 15 runs were three more than they had in any other game and marked their third time in double figures.
Michael Almanzar, Tony Thomas and Derrike Gibson each had three hits. Almanzar drilled his team-leading sixth home run, and first since April 28, to right field in the top of the eighth and had a two-run double in the sixth.
Almanzar finished with five runs batted in. Shaw had four.
"We had been struggling a little bit offensively," Boles said. "I think we were kind of pressing with runners in scoring position and tonight I thought the approach was real solid."
The Sea Dogs had lost the first two games of the series to New Hampshire. Thursday's victory snapped a three-game New Hampshire win streak. Portland returns home to start a seven-game homestand against Binghamton tonight.
Brandon Workman allowed seven hits over six innings to improve to 5-1. He struck out six and walked one.
"I thought his stuff was pretty good tonight and he was able to utilize a mix," Boles said.
A night after three Sea Dogs pitchers walked 14 Fisher Cats, they walked two Thursday.
Miguel Celestino pitched three innings and allowed five hits and earned a save.
The Sea Dogs went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first.
In the next three innings, they turned 10 hits -- seven of them for extra bases -- into a 9-3 lead.
At the end of four, Shaw had three hits, including the two doubles and the home run, and eight of the nine Sea Dog batters had a hit.
Fisher Cat starter Ryan Tepera lasted 3 1/3 innings and gave up eight hits and eight runs.
Portland tacked on three more runs in the sixth inning and it was up to 12-3.
The onslaught was not over yet.