May 7, 2011

Sea Dogs just can't hold a lead

Portland builds a 7-2 lead before another late-inning collapse that ends in a 10-7 loss to the Rock Cats.

By Kevin Thomas
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - If you look at some of the numbers these Portland Sea Dogs are putting up, it's been a good year so far, in terms of minor league players improving.

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WHO: Sea Dogs (Brock Huntzinger 2-3) vs. New Britain Rock Cats (Deolis Guerra 2-3)

WHEN: 1 p.m.

WHERE: Hadlock Field

TICKETS: About 1,500 remain

But if you look at the wins and losses

"From a development standpoint, things are going well," Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. "But we want to develop winning ballplayers.

"We need to be consistent."

That need was again demonstrated Friday night, as the Sea Dogs blew a 7-2 lead, losing to the New Britain Rock Cats 10-7 at Hadlock Field.

New Britain scored once in the fifth, twice in the eighth and then five off reliever Seth Garrison (0-1) in the ninth.

The defeat follows a 1-6 trip, which ended Thursday with a loss after blowing a 7-3 lead.

"It's what we saw (Thursday) night," Boles said. "Our offense did a real nice job, but we haven't been pitching very well.

"We need to hold a lead."

Portland leads the league in hitting (.277 average) but is second-to-last in pitching (4.46 ERA) and that has led to a 9-16 record.

The loss spoiled some solid efforts, including Jorge Padron's first-inning grand slam -- his first home run of the season -- and starter Michael Lee's recovery from a rough first inning.

Lee gave up two runs in a 30-pitch first inning, but needed only 49 pitches over the next four. He gave up three runs on five hits, striking out three.

"I felt myself falling behind hitters," he said. "I went to my breaking ball the following innings and settled down a little bit."

Down 2-0, Padron made it 4-2 in a hurry. With two outs and the bases loaded, his blast soared into the bullpen in right field.

New Britain starter Daniel Osterbrock (0-1) struggled in his Double-A debut, allowing seven runs on eight hits, two walks and two hit-batters over 31/3 innings.

Among the offensive leaders, besides Padron, were Will Middlebrooks (3 for 5, two RBI) and Will Vazquez (2 for 5).

Middlebrooks, the third base prospect, is now batting .340, with 12 RBI.

But all that offense was not enough. The Rock Cats (15-11) got one more off Lee in the fifth. In the eighth, New Britain's Chris Parmelee hit a two-run homer off Jeremy Kehrt, closing the score to 7-5.

Garrison relieved and finished the eighth.

New Britain's Daniel Rohlfing led off the ninth with a double and later scored on a single, closing to 7-6.

The Rock Cats loaded the bases with two outs.

Garrison then gave up three straight hits -- single, double, double and New Britain led 10-7.


NOTES: Friday's paid attendance was announced at 5,015. Middlebrooks did not bat in the ninth after being shaken up when he dived for a foul ball. Alex Hassan's average dipped below .400 (.391) after going 0 for 2, but he walked three times, upping his on-base percentage to 496. Hassan's .411 batting average and one homer in April were not enough to earn him EL player of the month.

Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:


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