Pitchers Trey Ball and Mitch Keller were locked in Thursday, which meant the Portland Sea Dogs and Altoona Curve were being shut out.

But Cole Sturgeon awoke the Sea Dogs with a leadoff triple in the fifth. Two RBI hits followed and that was all Portland needed in a 2-0 win at Hadlock Field.

Portland finished a short homestand by winning 2 of 3 from Altoona.

Ball, 23, the Boston Red Sox first-round draft pick in 2013, won it with seven shutout innings. The left-handed Ball (6-10) gave up four hits and one walk, striking out nine.

Keller, 21, rated the Pittsburgh Pirates’ No. 2 prospect, took the loss (now 0-1) in his third Double-A start. Keller, a right-hander, used a 95 mph fastball and deadly curve to allow four hits, striking out eight over six innings.

Keller had allowed only one hit – a bunt single – through four innings. Then Sturgeon came up.


“He was working in and out all day. He located well,” said Sturgeon, who bats left-handed. “Just trying to have a good at-bat. I got an inside fastball.”

Sturgeon jumped on the pitch – 103 mph exit velocity – sending it down the right-field line. He reached third base standing up.

With one out, Deiner Lopez fisted a bloop double down the left-field line, scoring Sturgeon. Danny Mars singled in Lopez with a grounder up the middle.

Ball was on his game and also got good defense. In the third inning, Elvis Escobar singled and tried to score on Pablo Reyes’ double to left. But the relay from Mars to the shortstop, Lopez, to catcher Jordan Procyshen, got Escobar.

Jake Cosart pitched a 1-2-3 eighth (two strikeouts). Bobby Poyner continued his amazing run with a scoreless ninth (one single), for his eighth save. Poyner, with a 90 mph fastball, along with a solid change-up, lowered his ERA to 0.27 (one earned run in 33 innings).

“The guy goes out there and has a plan,” pitching coach Kevin Walker said. “He has a really, deceptive, sneaky fastball he commands as well as anybody.


“He can command on the corners and can elevate the fastball and that helps the change-up play well.”

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 5,674. … Mars has a 17-game hitting streak. … Mars and Jeremy Barfield entered the game 2-3 in the Eastern League batting race. Mars (1 for 4) stayed at .313 and Barfield (0 for 4) dropped to .304. Garabez Rosa of Bowie leads at .319.… Cosart lowered his ERA to 3.35 and has 48 strikeouts in 43 innings. … The Sea Dogs left after the game for Binghamton, New York, and five games over three days, making up two previous rainouts. If any of this weekend’s games are rained out, they will be made up when the Rumble Ponies come to Portland on Aug. 24-27. … Binghamton’s appearance at Hadlock would be a lot more interesting if a certain outfielder is promoted to Double-A. But the Mets still have Tim Tebow in advanced Class A.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:


Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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