PORTLAND – Matt Barnes pitched well. Michael Almanzar hit another home run.

But three tough errors and four Binghamton hits in the ninth inning propelled the Mets to a 6-3 win over the Portland Sea Dogs Friday night, before 7,311 at Hadlock Field.

Binghamton broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the ninth.

The win closes the Mets (23-18) to one game behind Portland (23-16) in the Eastern League East Division. The teams play again today at 1 p.m. at Hadlock.

Barnes, 22, the touted Red Sox pitching prospect, lasted six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out seven, giving him 45 K’s in 37 innings.

Barnes hits his spots with a fastball that reached 97 mph.

“The fastball was the best it’s been all season. Command and velocity,” Barnes said. “Felt real good.”

Barnes allowed a first-inning run (double and single). He retired 11 straight at one point, before the Mets scored two in the sixth on a walk and consecutive doubles.

“Good fastball,” Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. “Struggled early with his breaking ball, but he settled in and used his mix.”

Almanzar, 22, continues to lead the Sea Dogs offensively, with a .302 average and seven homers.

In the bottom of the sixth, Almanzar crushed a fastball for a two-run blast to left center, tying the game 3-3. It was his second homer in consecutive games. He’s proving his fast start in Double-A is not a fluke.

“The way he’s going about his business, it’s been quite a turnaround,” Boles said.

But Almanzar was part of the ninth inning that featured wild throws, bad bounces and aggressive Binghamton base-running.

Richard Lucas led off the ninth against reliever Keith Couch (1-1) with a dribbler to third. Almanzar charged, bare-handed the ball and threw it wild, allowing Lucas to reach second.

Alonzo Harris bunted. First baseman Travis Shaw fielded the ball, thought of throwing to third, but then slipped. After an out, Harris stole second base.

With runners on second and third, Portland brought in its infield. Daniel Muno hit a slow bouncer to Almanzar. He ran in, gloved it, but could not get a grip on the ball.

“Just slipped out,” he said.

Lucas scored the go-ahead run. More runs followed. One came home after shortstop Xander Bogaerts made a diving stop, but then threw wild to first.

“Those were tough plays to make,” Boles said of the three errors. “But our guys didn’t have the accuracy on the throws.”

NOTES: Portland catcher Christian Vazquez threw out one of three base stealers, dropping his league-leading percentage to 47.5 percent (19 of 40). One stolen base came without a throw because another runner was on third base.

Today’s Sea Dogs starter, Anthony Ranaudo, is tied for first in the league with five wins, and is second in ERA (1.38). The last time Ranaudo faced the Mets was April 15, when he left after five hitless innings.

The Sea Dogs will be wearing pink uniforms today as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases


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