Friday, March 7, 2014
By ALLEN LESSELS/Special to the Press Herald
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Left-hander Sean Nolin shut down the Sea Dogs and led the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to their sixth straight win, 5-0 on Monday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
WHO: Sea Dogs (Bobby Lanigan 0-0) at N.H. Fisher Cats (Marcus Walden 5-9)
WHEN: 7:05 p.m.
The Sea Dogs have been shut out in three straight games, giving them a 27-inning scoreless streak.
"We've got to get the offense going, there's no doubt about it," Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. "On the flip side, we've faced some tough pitchers. But that's what is going to happen. You have to make sure you grind out your at-bats. We've got to string things together as far as getting some hits and timely hitting."
Nolin held the Sea Dogs to four singles -- second baseman Derrik Gibson had three of them -- over eight innings.
Portland had seven hits on Sunday at Binghamton and four and three hits in the two games before that.
Nolin struck out nine and walked two.
"He can pitch," Boles said. "He mixes well and he never misses middle-middle. It's always down or it's in or it's out. He's effective."
Nolin improved to 6-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.09. Of his 98 pitches, 70 were strikes.
"He was basically locked in the whole game," said Fisher Cats Manager Gary Allenson. "He hides the ball well and they don't pick it up early enough and he's got four pitches. We're talking about using his curveball more. He doesn't use it very much and it's good."
Right-hander Mike McCarthy, who is generally a reliever and was making his third start, gave the Sea Dogs four scoreless innings.
But the Fisher Cats bunched four of their seven hits together and came up with all five of their runs in the fifth.
Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera, playing on a rehab assignment, provided much of the punch for the Fisher Cats.
He had a couple of hits, including a two-run homer to left field to cap the fifth.
Gabe Jacobo led off the fifth with a double and after Kevin Nolan grounded out, McCarthy walked Ryan Schimpf. Andy Burns drilled a two-run double off the wall in left-center and Adam Loewen added an RBI single. Cabrera followed with a home run.
McCarthy gave up five hits in his five innings.
"He had us tied up," Allenson said. "But we were patient off him, too, and didn't let it get to us and frustrate us."
Noe Ramirez followed McCarthy, allowing one hit and striking out three in two innings, and Eric Niesen allowed one hit in one inning.
The Sea Dogs have lost four straight and have won only twice in their last 11 games.
They dropped to 46-48, the first time they have been two games under .500 since April 10.
Portland now has to hope this three-game series matches its last visit to New Hampshire.
The Fisher Cats won the first game in that one, 5-1 on June 28. The Sea Dogs took the next three, closing out with a 13-5 decision, and went on a six-game winning streak.
New Hampshire is going in the other direction.
The Fisher Cats are 47-46 and over .500 for the first time since May 20.