Tuesday, June 18, 2013
By Mike Lowe email@example.com
PORTLAND — Throughout their post-All Star break streak, the Portland Sea Dogs have come up with timely hits to back quality pitching.
WHO: Portland Sea Dogs (Drake Britton 2-3) at Binghamton Mets (Gonzalez Germen 6-7)
WHEN: 6:35 p.m.
WHERE: NYSEG Stadium
Wednesday night, the pitching continued. The timely hitting disappeared.
Three times the Sea Dogs wasted leadoff doubles, going 4 for 16 with runners in scoring position, as the first-place Trenton Thunder salvaged the finale of a three-game set 4-2 before a sellout of 7,368 at Hadlock Field.
“We needed this victory,’’ said Thunder Manager Tony Franklin. “We pitched well.’’
So did the Sea Dogs, who dropped to 47-58 with just their fourth loss since the All-Star break. But spot starter Jason Urquidez and reliever Ryan Pressly each made one mistake – and each went quite far.
Urquidez, making just the second start in 239 career appearances, left a pitch up that Zoilo Almonte “hit like he’s supposed to hit it,’’ said Urquidez. The ball hit the Red Sox update scoreboard in right center.
After the Sea Dogs tied it with a run in the bottom of the sixth – but could have had more, starting the inning with four consecutive singles – Pressly gave up a three-run home run to Neil Medchill in the top of the seventh.
And in the end, those two mistakes were too much to overcome because the Sea Dogs couldn’t get anything going against Trenton starter Brett Marshall and two relievers.
They led off the first, second and fifth innings with doubles, but couldn’t bring the runner around.
“We salvaged an inning,’’ said Franklin, of the first. “We got out of it without any damage and that set the tone for the night. Those were all big innings for us.’’
Perhaps no inning was more painful for the Sea Dogs than the sixth.
Jeremy Hazelbaker led off by reaching – barely – on a bunt single, beating the throw from catcher J.R. Murphy on a bang-bang play at first. Marquez Smith then grounded a single to left, followed by another single to left, this one by Reynaldo Rodriguez, loading the bases.
Bryce Brentz then hit a grounder that deflected off the glove of third baseman Kevin Mahoney into left, allowing Hazelbaker to score. But Marshall (11-4) got out of it with a strikeout and a double-play grounder.
“Marshall did a terrific job working out of those jams,’’ said Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles. “When runners were in scoring position, he elevated his game. ’’
The Sea Dogs made things interesting in the ninth against closer Kelvin Perez. Kolbrin Vitek led off with a double, went to third on a single by Dan Butler and scored when Derrik Gibson reached on a fielder’s choice. But Perez struck out Ryan Dent and Jackie Bradley Jr. to preserve the win.
“Baseball is one those games that when you’re on a streak, everything seems to click,’’ said Brentz. “Today, you’ve just got to tip your cap to their pitchers. They kept us off balance.’’
NOTES: Urquidez was very effective, giving up one run on five hits. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out four. He threw 16 of 20 first-pitch strikes in his five innings – the longest appearance of his career. His only other start came on Sept. 5, 2005 ....
Michael Olmsted, promoted from Class-A Salem on Tuesday, made an impressive first appearance with Portland, going the final two innings, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out three.
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: