NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – The road to Eastern League prosperity has been marked with pitfalls for New Britain Rock Cats pitcher Tyler Robertson.

The jump from Class A has been an adventure marred by lots of hits and too many homers off the left-hander. Wins have predictably been infrequent.

But if Robertson was looking for a turning point, Thursday night’s performance may be it.

Robertson yielded just three hits over six scoreless innings and the Rock Cats made the most of a pair of two-out hits in scratching out a 3-0 win over the Portland Sea Dogs before 4,792 at New Britain Stadium.

Robertson (2-9) was sporting a 5.73 ERA with 110 hits in 812/3 innings coming into the game but he numbed the Portland bats with a variety of breaking balls setting up his fastball. He walked two — both in the fifth inning — and struck out five.

“He pitched backwards almost the whole game,” Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “He got ahead with the offspeed stuff and challenged us late in the count with fastballs. We didn’t grind some (at-bats), we chased some poor pitches and he got on us with some fastballs that we missed, but that’s baseball. It’s a game of adjustments. He made an adjustment and he was due to throw a good game against us.”


Robertson went back to basics.

“My last couple starts were kind of rough so (Manager Jeff Smith and pitching coach Stu Cliburn) told me to pitch how I did when I signed,” Robertson said. “I made a lot of adjustments four or five years out and I think a lot of them were to help me in the future, but I think I was trying to do a little too much. They told me to simplify it and I think I did a pretty good job of it tonight.”

Loek Van Mil pitched two scoreless innings and Billy Bullock got his sixth save by pitching around a leadoff double by Luis Exposito in the ninth.

Boston Red Sox right-hander Manny Delcarmen, assigned to the Sea Dogs for a rehabilitation appearance, started the game and needed just nine pitches to set the side down in order.

The Rock Cats (27-65) broke through against Delcarmen’s successor Jeremy Kehrt (1-7) in the fifth.

Steve Singleton’s looping fly ball to short right center found turf between three Sea Dogs. Alex- ander Soto walked and Mark Dolenc dropped down a sacrifice to put the runners in scoring position.


Yancarlos Ortiz slapped a grounder to first base. Anthony Rizzo couldn’t find the handle and settled for the out at first.

The Rock Cats upped the count to 3-0 the next inning, as Joe Benson’s drive soared over the glove of left fielder Matt Sheely for an RBI double. Singleton (2 for 4) followed with an RBI double to right field

“They made their hits count,” Beyeler said. “We were singling everybody to death. They got some bigger hits than we did.”

Rehabbing Red Sox outfielder Jeremy Hermida had a double and single in four at-bats for the Sea Dogs (44-47).

NOTES: The Sea Dogs got catcher Ryan Lavarnway and outfielder/first baseman Jorge Padron from Class A Salem and right-handed pitcher Blake Maxwell from Triple-A Pawtucket.

In corresponding moves, reliever Santo Luis was promoted to Pawtucket, and infielder Luis Segovia was transferred to Salem.


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