July 6, 2012

Crawford claims racial slur from fan in New Hampshire

The Sea Dogs are routed, Carl Crawford has a verbal run-in, Ryan Sweeney plays, and Jacoby Ellsbury doesn't.

By ALLEN LESSELS Special to the Press Herald

MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Portland Sea Dogs sent two more rehabbing Red Sox outfielders out against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Thursday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

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Carl Crawford swings and misses Thursday night during his rehab start with the Sea Dogs at New Hampshire. Crawford, in his third game with Portland, had a triple in four at-bats.

Photos by Mark Bolton/Union Leader

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Brian Van Kirk of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats slides into second with a stolen base Thursday night as Nick Natoli of the Portland Sea Dogs applies the late tag.

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WHO: Portland Sea Dogs (Drake Britton 1-2) vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (John Silton 2-1)

WHEN: 7:05 p.m.

WHERE: Northeast Delta Dental Stadium

But Portland again was unable to stay with the home team and lost its season-high sixth straight, 11-3.

Left fielder Carl Crawford, who has yet to play with the Red Sox this season, got in another four at-bats with the Sea Dogs, and contributed an impressive triple and scored in the fifth inning.

Crawford, who at first complimented the friendly crowd, apparently had a verbal run-in with a fan.

He was asked about one fan who yelled out "overrated" and "overpaid" just before the triple.

"Talking about that guy, he actually called me a racial slur to begin the game with," Crawford said. "He was the only one I had a problem with. The people in Boston don't even do that."

It appeared Crawford may have been referring to a different fan.

"I don't know what that was about," he said. "It's not bad in Boston like that, but I can understand why people can be upset about me signing that contract (seven years, $142 million) and me having the kind of year I had. I understand. They love their team and they want you to produce when you sign a contract like that. I can't be mad at them. All I can do is get ready to play this year and try to produce."

Outfielder Ryan Sweeney, coming back from a toe injury, made his first appearance with the Sea Dogs as the designated hitter and had a single in four plate appearances.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who played Wednesday night for the Sea Dogs, wasn't with the team.

It was unclear which of the major leaguers will be in the lineup tonight for the finale of the three-game series.

Sweeney said he might play. Crawford said he wasn't sure and the Red Sox would let him know today.

Ellsbury said on his Twitter account a few hours before the game that he had a regularly scheduled day off and was, "Looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow!"

But he didn't specify whether "there" was with the Sea Dogs, with the Red Sox in Fenway to play the Yankees, or with the Pawtucket Red Sox, who are in Rochester, N.Y., tonight and return home to start a series Saturday with Syracuse.

As for the game, Sea Dogs starter Chris Hernandez cruised through four innings, allowing one baserunner on an error and had a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth. Not much went right from there.

The Fisher Cats grabbed the lead with four runs in the fifth, then broke it open with four more in the seventh and three in the eighth.

Hernandez allowed four runs on five hits over six innings, and Charlie Rosario, up from Class A Salem, gave up seven runs on five hits.

First baseman Drew Hedman had two of the nine Portland hits, including a ninth-inning home run.

NOTES: The Sea Dogs announced that right-handed pitchers Chris Martin and Anthony Ranaudo were placed on the disabled list. Hernandez took the loss for Portland, and New Hampshire starter Fernando Hernandez allowed seven hits and two runs over six innings for the win.


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Portland catcher Dan Butler tags out Mike McDade of New Hampshire following a strikeout. The Sea Dogs lost a season-high sixth straight with an 11-3 setback.


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