TRENTON, N.J. — The Portland Sea Dogs held a six run advantage early, staved off a furious comeback and downed the Trenton Thunder 8-6 Wednesday night at Arm & Hammer Park. The win pushes the season series to 10-5 in favor of the Sea Dogs.
Portland (56-28) was facing Cy Young Award winning pitcher C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees, who is on a rehab assignment. Shannon Wilkerson picked up a one-out single against the left-hander and Blake Swihart backed it up with a double to put two in scoring position. Sean Coyle followed with a sacrifice fly to center and put the Sea Dogs in front 1-0.
Sabathia settled down and pitched a scoreless second before giving up a pair of runs in each of the next two innings. Derrik Gibson began the third with a triple to right, and scored when the relay throw went into the Sea Dogs’ dugout, which made it 2-0. Wilkerson drew a walk, and scored the second run of the inning on Swihart’s double to center.
Portland lefty Johnson pitched two scoreless frames, before the Thunder picked up a run in the third. Dan Fiorito began the inning with a single and cut the deficit to 3-1 on Carmen Angelini’s double.
Sabathia retired two in the fourth, but a leadoff single and two-out error gave the Dogs a pair of base runners and ended Sabathia’s night on the mound. Fred Lewis took over and gave up a two-run double to Wilkerson Portland held the 5-1 lead, closing the book on the Yankees pitcher.
The inning continued with Swihart at the plate, against Lewis, but play was halted at 8:05 p.m. as Gibson held third, Wilkerson second, and with the Dogs in front 5-1. The rain delay would last for 1 hour and 41 minutes before Bryan Mitchell took over and retired the catcher on a 3-2 curveball.
The game was long from over, after the delay, as the Sea Dogs and Thunder traded multiple-run innings in the fifth.
Portland got its two runs against Mitchell in the top half of the inning on a passed ball by the catcher Gary Sanchez that scored Michael Almanzar. Stefan Welch plated the second with an RBI single, which scored Keury De La Cruz from second and upped the lead to 7-1.
Trenton would come storming back with five runs of their own in the home half of the fifth inning. Michael Olmsted took over for Johnson in the fourth and pitched a scoreless inning before coming back out for the fifth.
The rally began with one-out walks to Fiorito, Angelini, Mason Williams, and Ben Gamel, and a three-run double by Gary Sanchez pulled Trenton within two at 7-5. Peter O’Brien walked and ended the night for Olmsted. Wilfredo Boscan came on and gave up a single to Tyler Austin, which Sanchez and made it 7-6. Rob Segedin grounded into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play, which put a stop to the rally and preserved the lead for Portland.
Boscan settled into a groove and retired 10 Thunder batters in a row, after the double play that ended the fifth and went on to throw perfect innings in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.
Mitchell pitched the final five and one third innings, but gave up a solo home run to Sean Coyle in the top of the ninth inning which upped the Sea Dogs’ lead 8-6 and served as the final dagger.
Noe Ramirez pitched a scoreless home-half of the ninth and sealed the Sea Dogs’ 8-6 win, picking up his ninth save in as many chances along the way.
Boscan (1-2) took home his first win with Portland on the 2014 season and Sabathia (0-1) was dealt the loss.
Sabathia finished 3 2/3 innings and allowed five runs, three earned, on five hits; he walked one, hit a batter, and struck out two in his second rehab appearance.