New Hampshire Hardball

Portland edges New Hampshire

MANCHESTER — Despite a terrific effort from the pitching staff, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays Double-A affiliate) were edged by the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox) 2-1 on Saturday night at Delta Dental Stadium.

The Fisher Cats combined to throw a one-hitter, but a pair of first-inning runs made the difference for Portland. Starter Hector Perez  (L, 7-5) walked three batters in the opening frame, but allowed just one earned run on a sacrifice fly and one unearned run on a passed ball.

After Perez’s two innings (2 R, 1 ER, 0 H, 4 BB, 3 K), the bullpen went to work. William Ouellette faced the minimum in his three relief innings, and Willy Ortiz struck out two batters in two scoreless frames. It was Ortiz’s first outing since hitting the injured list on July 15. Danny Young retired all six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth.

Portland’s lone hit came in the fourth inning: a bloop single to left field by Jeremy Rivera. He was caught stealing four pitches later.

New Hampshire cut the 2-0 deficit in half on a fourth-inning RBI groundout from Kevin Smith , who cashed in on back-to-back singles from Nash Knight  and Josh Palacios . It was just the third earned run allowed by Portland’s Daniel McGrath (W, 6-0) since the beginning of June.

The Fisher Cats threatened in the ninth with two walks against Dedgar Jimenez (S, 7), but a dramatic double play sealed the win for Portland. With runners on first and second, Christian Williams  drilled a ball deep to right field, but Marcus Wilson made a leaping catch at the wall, and fired the ball to second base to double up Palacios for the final out.

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