July 8, 2010

Sea Dogs do it all, and quite well, too

Portland gets explosive hitting, strong pitching and solid defense to put away New Hampshire, 11-4.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - While the Portland Sea Dogs have been slipping in the Eastern League standings, Manager Arnie Beyeler said his team has struggled to put together a complete effort -- pitching, defense and offense -- for nine innings.

click image to enlarge

Sea Dogs third baseman Ray Chang gets tangled up with Darin Mastroianni of the Fisher Cats, who was safe during the third inning of Portland's 11-4 win Wednesday night.

Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Nate Spears of the Sea Dogs makes a headfirst slide and beats a throw (ball above head) to New Hampshire's Jonathan Diaz to reach second. Spears had four hits in Portland's 11-4 win.

Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

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Listen to highlights on the U.S. Cellular Sea Dogs Radio Network.

TODAY’S GAME

WHO: New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Rey Gonzalez 0-0) vs. Portland Sea Dogs (Jeremy Kehrt 1-5)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Hadlock Field

TICKETS: 2,200 available

Wednesday night may have qualified.

Portland pounded 13 hits and played strong defense in an 11-4 victory over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats before 6,067 at Hadlock Field.

Nate Spears spearheaded the offense, going 4 for 4 with a home run, walk and four runs.

Ray Chang homered and added an RBI single.

Yamaico Navarro contributed two RBI singles.

Matt Sheely put the game away with a three-run triple in the seventh.

Alex Wilson (1-1) made the finest Double-A start of his short career, holding the Fisher Cats to one run on two hits and two walks while striking out six over six innings.

Only a home run by Shawn Bowman marred Wilson's outing.

Wilson, 23, was the second-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox last year out of Texas A&M. He was promoted in mid-June and has had roller-coaster results: four earned runs total in three starts and 15 earned runs total in two others.

"I've had some really good starts and some really bad ones," Wilson said. "I felt consistent tonight. Hopefully this will be a good place for me to work my kinks out."

Wilson was firing his fastball. He struck out rehabbing major league outfielder Travis Snider twice, ending his outing by getting Snider on a 94-mph fastball.

For the most part, Wilson kept his fastball ball down, then worked in his other pitches.

"Both my change-up and my slider were good tonight," Wilson said. "It took a few innings to get my slider back. From the third inning on, it was a good, effective pitch for me."

Bowman, who homered off Casey Kelly the night before, hit Wilson's hanging slider over the wall over left-center for his 15th home run to give the Fisher Cats a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

Chang countered in the bottom of the inning with a home run to the same spot, his fifth, on a fastball from Randy Boone (2-4).

Chang went 2 for 5 and leads the team with a .303 average. He is headed to next week's Eastern League All-Star game, as is Spears, who leads the team in home runs (eight), runs (58) and on-base percentage (.403).

"It was a good night. I saw the ball well," Spears said. "I was just patient and got good pitches to hit."

The Sea Dogs scored three in the third inning to take the lead for good. Spears led off with a double down the right-field line and scored on Navarro's single.

Luis Exposito reached on a grounder in the shortstop hole. Anthony Rizzo singled in Navarro, and Chih-Hsien Chiang doubled to score Exposito.

Spears doubled again in the fourth and Navarro again singled him in for a 5-1 lead. Navarro increased his batting average to .258 and his RBI to 41.

New Hampshire touched reliever Santo Luis for two runs in the seventh, but Portland scored four in the bottom of the inning: Chang's RBI single and Sheely's bases-loaded triple to left-center.

In the ninth, Che-Hsuan Lin tripled and Spears followed with a drive over the right-field wall.

"Wilson kept us in the game and it was an overall good win," Spears said.

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

kthomas@pressherald.com

 

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