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Sea Dog day afternoon as Portland wins a wild one over Fishers

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 31. 2018 7:02PM
Fisher Cats' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gathers with his teammate before taking the field against the Portland Sea Dogs in Manchester on Thursday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — It didn't take long for a five-run lead to evaporate in the sun at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium on Thursday afternoon.

The Fisher Cats led by five runs after six innings, but the Portland Sea Dogs pulled even with a five-run seventh and then scored five more in the top of the 10th to secure a 12-9 victory that ended New Hampshire's five-game winning streak.

Shortstop Jeremy Rivera and catcher Jhon Nunez each had three hits for Portland (18-34), which resides at the bottom of the Eastern League's Eastern Division. Rivera drove in four runs and scored three times. Portland, Boston's Double-A affiliate, also received a hit and three RBIs from first baseman Josh Ockimey, Boston's No. 12 prospect, according to Baseball America.

After New Hampshire starting pitcher Jon Harris left the game with a 7-2 lead, the Sea Dogs tied the game by scoring five runs on four hits against reliever Danny Young in the seventh. Portland went ahead 12-7 after it scored five runs against Nick Hartman in the 10th.

“Bullpen wasn't good today, plain and simple,” Fisher Cats manager John Schneider said. “Danny, Nick — they weren't good. Harris was decent, and we had a couple chances to add on (to the lead) there in the middle of the game — second and third with one out, didn't get it done — and that comes back to hurt you. Definitely had our chances and just didn't capitalize.”

The league-leading Fisher Cats (33-19) had a chance to take an 8-7 lead in the bottom of the eighth, but Bo Bichette was thrown out at the plate when he was waved around third and tried to score from first on a two-out double by Juan Kelly with Vlad Guerrero Jr. on deck.

With questions being asked daily about his possible promotion to Toronto — questions fueled even more by a profile in this week's Sports Illustrated — Guerrero went 1-for-4 with a walk one day after an 0-for-4 performance ended his 10-game hitting streak.

Guerrero, who at 19 is the youngest player in Double-A baseball this season, began the day leading the Eastern League in batting average (.417), RBIs (53), extra-base hits (30), doubles (18), slugging percentage (.701) and total bases (131). He also ranked second in runs scored (43).

“I don't pay much attention to that (talk of being promoted),” Guerrero said earlier this week through his interpreter, Fisher Cats position coach Andy Fermin “When I go homem I try to rest and get ready for the next day. I try to work every day and control what I can control, and try to get better every day.”

New Hampshire received a two-run home run from catcher Max Pentecost and a solo home run from Bichette. Both home runs came in the first inning, when the Fisher Cats grabbed a 4-1 lead.

Eight of the nine players in New Hampshire's starting batting order collected at least one hit.

Josh Taylor (1-1) picked up the win for tossing two innings of scoreless relief. The victory ended Portland's three-game losing streak.

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New Hampshire began the day leading the Eastern League in team batting average (.277). Portland was second in batting average (.259), but last in team ERA (5.22). … Right-handed pitcher Jordan Romano, who is 8-0 with a 2.04 ERA in Double-A this season, is scheduled to start on the mound for the Fisher Cats in the first game of tonight's doubleheader at Binghamton (5:35 p.m.). Romano, 25, leads the Eastern League in wins, WHIP (0.87) and batting-average against (.148) ... Romano returned to New Hampshire after he picked up a victory in his Triple-A debut Sunday, when he pitched five innings in Buffalo's 11-2 triumph over Rochester. He allowed four hits, struck out three and walked four. … Guerrero leads all of minor league baseball in hits (79) and total bases (133).

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