April 17, 2013

Portland misses rare chance to go over .500

The bullpen falters in a loss that denies the Sea Dogs their first winning record since April 2011.

By TOM ROBINSON Special to the Press Herald

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Binghamton bunched its runners together in two big innings Tuesday night.

The Mets had four straight reach in the fourth and the first five get on in the eighth while overcoming an early deficit in a 7-3 victory against the Portland Sea Dogs.

Binghamton seemed to be minutes away from a rain-shortened 3-2 win but the teams returned to the field after a delay caused by a downpour and strong winds in the seventh inning.

The Sea Dogs scored in the first two innings, but the Mets moved in front with three runs in the fourth. After the delay, Binghamton scored four more times in the eighth while playing in another shower.

"It was a very competitive game," Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. "The eighth inning just didn't go the way we liked. It was a 3-2 game before the rain delay."

The early lead gave the Sea Dogs a chance to move above .500 for the first time since winning on opening day 2011.

Before breaking the game open in the bottom of the eighth, Binghamton protected a one-run lead in the top of the inning when Jeff Walters came in to strike out Tony Thomas with two outs and runners on the corners.

"Both starting pitchers threw well," Boles said. "Their bullpen was just able to execute a little better than ours."

Thomas continued his run production to give the Sea Dogs the lead in the top of the first inning.

After driving in two runs in each of the previous four games, Thomas doubled for his team-high 11th RBI of the season.

Xander Bogaerts singled up the middle and scored when Thomas sent a shot to the left-field fence.

Heiker Meneses made it 2-0 in the second. He drilled the ball over center fielder Darrell Ceciliani, who crashed into the wall and was slow to get up while Meneses circled the bases.

Bogaerts got his second of three hits and the team's fourth off starter Logan Verrett with two outs in the third. Verrett (2-0) worked four more innings without giving up another hit.

The Sea Dogs did not score again until the ninth when Peter Hissey doubled and Christian Vazquez singled with two outs.

Drake Britton (1-2) retired the first seven Binghamton batters and held the Mets scoreless for 32/3 innings before four straight reached, including an RBI triple by Cesar Puello and an RBI double by Francisco Pena.

Will Latimer worked before and after the 37-minute rain delay but couldn't get an out in the eighth.

Brock Huntzinger followed and walked two batters, including one with the bases loaded.

"I don't think the rain was any factor," Boles said. "Our guys were focused and locked in."


NOTES: Chris Martin of Portland was named the Eastern League pitcher of the week after striking out 12 in nine scoreless innings of relief.


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