PORTLAND – After one of his best days as a professional baseball player, Portland Sea Dogs first baseman Anthony Rizzo strode quietly toward the clubhouse, bats atop his shoulder.

He turned to teammate Ryan Lavarnway.

“It’s good to win a game,” Rizzo said.

And that about sums up Rizzo, who continues to carve a path to Fenway Park.

Rizzo, who just turned 21, can hit for average, for power, and in the clutch. He went 3 for 4 on Thursday with two home runs, including a two-out grand slam that gave Portland the lead for good.

But most of all, Rizzo wants to win, which is what the Sea Dogs did at Hadlock Field, beating the Altoona Curve 9-8 to end a three-game losing streak.


Rizzo keyed a power display of five home runs that accounted for all of the Sea Dogs’ scoring. Nate Spears, Lavarnway and Luis Exposito also went deep.

Three of the homers came in the seventh inning, including Rizzo’s slam.

The homers helped Portland overcome a 6-0 deficit after Altoona jumped on starter Kyle Weiland in the first two innings.

But even Weiland bounced back, recovering to pitch scoreless third and fourth innings.

“He battled well after (the first two innings) and got us further in the game,” Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “That showed a little resiliency.”

The Rynes took over from there. Ryne Lawson (6-5) shut down the Curve with one-hit pitching over three innings.


Ryne Reynoso survived a four-hit, two-run eighth to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth and record his first save since 2007.

The game started on a downer for the Sea Dogs. Over the first two innings, Weiland walked three, hit a batter and gave up three hits, including two drives by Josh Harrison over the left-field wall.

Rizzo singled in the fourth and Spears drilled his 14th home run into the right-field pavilion, closing Portland to 6-2.

Altoona starter Bryan Morris left after giving up three hits and two runs in five innings, and the Sea Dogs took advantage.

Rizzo hit an inside fastball from Tom Boleska (1-1) for a home run to right in the sixth.

Lavarnway began the seventh by clubbing a fastball from Boleska off the Hannaford sign above the left-field wall. After three singles loaded the bases, Boleska was gone.


Reliever Derek Hankins got two quick outs on an infield pop-up and strikeout. Then Rizzo came up and took a ball.

“The first pitch was a curveball in the dirt, and that set me up,” Rizzo said. “He left up a fastball.”

Rizzo went to the opposite field, launching the ball over the message board in left-center to give Portland an 8-6 lead.

Rizzo has 18 home runs for Portland and, counting his time in Class A at the start of the season, he has 23 for the season, tops among Red Sox minor leaguers.

“He has big power and he uses the whole field,” Beyeler said. “He’s a dangerous guy because of that.”

Exposito followed Rizzo’s slam with a solo shot over the left-field wall. It was his 10th home run of the season and team-leading 84th RBI.


Reynoso, who pitched for Boston College and the Sanford Mainers, made his fifth appearance for the Sea Dogs. After his rocky eighth, he struck out Harrison to begin the ninth and then induced a groundout. Center fielder Che-Hsuan Lin ran down a line drive to finish the game.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:



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