Friday, April 18, 2014
By Kevin Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND - Drake Britton added another plus to his resume Sunday afternoon as the Boston Red Sox left-handed prospect continues to show he is ready to move on from Double-A baseball.
WHO: Sea Dogs (Matt Barnes 3-3 and Charlie Haeger 2-3) at Reading Fightin Phils (Seth Rosin 3-4 and TBA)
WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Britton allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits in seven innings as the Portland Sea Dogs topped the Akron Aeros 7-4, before 6,735 at Hadlock Field.
Peter Hissey paced the offense with a 3-for-5 day, including his first home run and two RBI.
Travis Shaw had two hits, and Michael Almanzar added a first-inning two-run double.
"When you put up two runs early, that may be all Drake needs," Hissey said.
Portland did need more runs, but not many with Britton dealing.
His off-speed stuff was a little off, but Britton used his fastball -- hitting 95 mph -- effectively.
"What kept me in the game was my fastball," Britton said. "Threw it in and out, elevated, and threw it for strikes. We played good defense and hit the ball. Good game."
Britton (6-5 with a 3.08 ERA) has had a few good games lately. He's allowed a total of two earned runs in his last five (32 innings).
So why is Britton, who is on the Red Sox 40-man roster, still in Double-A Portland?
"I'm not worried about that," Britton said.
"Just living day-by-day. I enjoy being here. We're having fun and we're playing well. I'm not worried about anything else."
What was impressive Sunday was how Britton escaped big trouble. He gave up a lead-off triple in the fourth and stranded the runner (pop-up, walk, double play).
He allowed a run in the fifth on a double and a single.
In the seventh, he faced the bases loaded with no outs, after two walks and a fielding error. Akron hit into a double play, scoring a run, but that was all the Aeros got.
"Early on (in Britton's time in Portland), there was a chance he wouldn't settle in and the game would speed up on him," Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said.
"He looks pretty composed now."
Reliever Miguel Celestino allowed two runs in the eighth, but the offense had already provided a cushion, led by Hissey.
Limited to only 33 games this year because of injuries, Hissey is batting .292 with 18 RBI.
"When I'm on the field, I've been doing pretty well," Hissey said.
Portland improved to 35-32, still in second-place in the Eastern League East Division, 61/2 games behind first-place Binghamton. Akron (34-34) is in fourth place in the West, but only 21/2 games out of first.
The Sea Dogs will leave Portland Monday on a seven-game road trip which begins Tuesday with a doubleheader in Reading, Pa. The Sea Dogs return to Hadlock next Monday.
NOTES: Shaw was batting .210 after last Thursday's game, but looks to be breaking out of his slump. Shaw has five hits in his last 11 at-bats (.454), with a home run and two doubles
Christian Vazquez has also been scuffling (.231), but looked strong on Sunday. He went 1 for 4 with a double and two hard line drives to right field.
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