PORTLAND – Before Stephen Strasburg became a major league phenomenon, he began this season pitching for the Harrisburg Senators.

Strasburg is long gone, but the Senators’ rotation is rolling along without him.

Harrisburg left-hander Aaron Thompson and relievers Jack Spradlin, Adam Carr and Zech Zinicola combined to pitch a one-hitter as the Senators topped the Portland Sea Dogs 3-0 Monday night at Hadlock Field.

Sea Dogs first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s line drive to right field broke up the no-hitter with a one-out double in the ninth inning.

“In the dugout, we were saying let’s a get a hit to start (a rally),” Rizzo said.

Rizzo was stranded on second as Portland dropped to 38-37.

Thompson threw a no-hitter for six innings, recording six walks and six strikeouts. He exited after throwing 96 pitches (53 strikes).

Thompson, 23, was a Florida Marlins first-round draft choice in 2005. He was dealt to the Nationals for first baseman Nick Johnson at the trade deadline last year .

Thompson (4-9) has had his struggles, but showed his potential on Monday, locating his fastball, while throwing his change-up, slider and curve for strikes.

The walks almost did Thompson in. He walked the bases loaded with two outs in the third, but Luis Exposito grounded out to second.

“We had some opportunities,” Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “They (Harrisburg) have some pretty good arms and we got to see it firsthand.”

Jeremy Kehrt (1-4) was the hard-luck losing pitcher, allowing one unearned run, five hits and two walks over five innings, while striking out five. He lowered his ERA to 2.97.

Kehrt walked Brad Coon to begin the fifth inning.

While Coon was stealing, Danny Espinosa fouled off a pitch, but Espinosa’s bat hit catcher Luis Exposito’s glove. Espinosa was awarded first base, and Exposito was charged with an error for the interference.

The runners advanced on a groundout to second base, and Coon then scored on a groundout to short, for a 1-0 lead.

Reliever Ryne Miller allowed two runs (one earned) over two innings.

Portland threatened in the sixth when Ray Chang reached on a two-base throwing error from third baseman Tim Pahuta with no outs.

Chang never got to third.

Spradlin was the first Harrisburg reliever in. He struck out all four batters he faced.

Carr retired his two batters in the eighth.

Zinicola, the closer with the 1.64 ERA, entered in the ninth. He struck out Exposito, but Rizzo connected on a fastball for the double.


NOTES: Shortstop Jose Iglesias is still unable to throw because of his deeply bruised right hand. Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin got a scheduled day off. The paid attendance was 4,011. …

While Strasburg has moved on from the Senators, they do have a major-league pitcher starting Wednesday. John Lannon, who started the past two season-openers for the Nationals, has been struggling (10.38 ERA in his last three big-league starts). He was sent to down to work with pitching coach Randy Tomlin. …

Art Mattingly, who has been driving the Harrisburg team bus for 15 years, enjoyed a reunion with Sea Dogs pitcher Casey Kelly. In Mattingly’s first season, in 1996, the Harrisburg manager was Pat Kelly, Casey’s father. Casey Kelly, then 6, became a mainstay on the bus.


Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or [email protected]


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