TRENTON, N.J. – Edwar Gonzalez scored on Daniel Brewer’s grounder with one out in the ninth inning Wednesday night as the Trenton Thunder dealt the Portland Sea Dogs a 1-0 loss at Waterfront Park.

Robert Coello of the Sea Dogs and David Phelps of Trenton combined for 18 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. Coello set a Portland season high with 11 strikeouts and reliever Mitch Herold added 2 1/3 strong innings.

But Portland managed just four hits off Phelps and reliever Eric Wordekemper, who combined to retire 16 straight from the fourth through ninth innings.

Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler sent closer Bryce Cox (0-4) to the mound in the ninth.

Cox retired Austin Romine for the first out and appeared to get Brandon Laird swinging for the second, but first-base umpire Jon Byrne ruled that Laird checked on an 0-2 slider.

Laird laced the next pitch up the middle for a single and went to third on Jorge Vazquez’s pop to right that fell just in front of the hard-charging Ryan Khoury.

Gonzalez replaced Laird at third and scored on Brewer’s soft grounder deep in the hole at short. Shortstop Yamaico Navarro did all he could, backhanding and with no chance for the out at home, throwing to Nate Spears for a force at second. But Spears didn’t have enough time to complete the double play, and his throw was well late to Anthony Rizzo at first.

After allowing five earned runs in his first 17 innings this season, Cox has surrendered seven in his last 62/3.

“It came down to a play late and they hit the ball in the right spot,” Beyeler said.

It was a tough way to lose, especially after Coello’s gem.

“He located his fastball and worked ahead,” Beyeler said. “His ability to throw the curveball over for a strike kept them off it. He did a very nice job.”

Coello was dominant from the start, striking out five straight after starting the game with two fly outs. Helped by the pitcher-friendly strike zone of plate umpire Tom Honec, Coello had hitters shaking their heads and mumbling back to the dugout with fastballs and curves that painted the corners and skimmed the knees and letters.

He struck out 11 of the 21 batters he faced.

Coello has allowed two earned runs in 15 2/3 innings in three appearances against the Thunder this season, lowering his ERA against Trenton from 1.80 to 1.15.


NOTES: Felix Doubront had Portland’s previous strikeout high this season, fanning nine in a 4-2 win over New Britain on May 7. The Sea Dogs’ franchise record for strikeouts is 13, set multiple times with Jon Lester last doing it on July 11, 2005. Khoury doubled in the second, making it six straight games with a hit. Actor/comedian Joe Piscopo, appearing on “Italian Heritage Night,” handled PA duties in the sixth inning and sang, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”


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