The Sea Dogs jumped out to an early lead and held off numerous late-inning opportunities for the Thunder in a 5-4 decision at ARM & HAMMER Park on Tuesday night.
Portland grabbed a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Thunder starter Manny Banuelos. With the bases loaded and one out, David Chester singled through the middle to score the first two runs of the game for the visitors. In the next at-bat, against Michael Brenly, Banuelos reached his inning pitch limit (34 pitches) and was removed from the game. Jairo Heredia entered and after striking out Brenly, he surrendered a two-run single to Jonathan Roof.
Heredia gave the Thunder an outstanding chance to win with 5.2 innings of scoreless relief. The Dominican right-hander struck out five, walked one and allowed just two hits.
Sea Dogs starter Henry Owens was dominant through the first three innings before the Thunder offense used four straight hits to begin the bottom of the fourth inning. With the bases loaded, Rob Segedin roped a two-run double to left to cut the deficit to 4-2. Owens was able to pitch out of the inning without further damage after Segedin’s double.
Owens was lifted in the sixth inning after putting runners on second and third with two out. Reliever Robby Scott entered and walked Ali Castillo to load the bases, but, Scott came back to retire Mason Williams with a ground ball to second and end the Thunder threat.
Portland’s Blake Swihart drive in Shannon Wilkerson with a base hit in the top of the seventh inning. Peter O’Brien drove in Ben Gamel on a fielder’s choice to keep the Thunder within striking distance at 5-3 after seven innings.
In the both the eighth and ninth inning, the Thunder stranded the tying run in scoring position. Overall, the home team stranded 13 baserunners.
Ben Gamel went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI. It was the Thunder’s sixth four hit game of the season.
The Thunder will welcome rehabbing LHP CC Sabathia to ARM & HAMMER Park on Wednesday night. LHP Brian Johnson (7-1, 1.67 ERA) will go for the Sea Dogs. Tickets are still available by calling (609) 394-3300 or by visiting Trentonthunder.com.