TRENTON – The Thunder won their fourth straight game and assured a second consecutive series victory on Friday night after defeating the Portland Sea Dogs on a brisk night at ARM & HAMMER Park, 4-1. The win by Trenton moved both teams into a tie atop the Eastern Division with identical 5-3 records.
Action remained scoreless for the first two innings before Portland struck for a run in the top-half of the third inning on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Aneury Tavarez to go ahead 1-0. That run marked the first time this season that Trenton did not score first.
After giving up five runs in 3 1/3 innings in his first start in Erie last Sunday, 23-year old right hander Yefry Ramirez appeared to be poised and much more confident in his second start. The Dominican native went six strong innings and allowed just two hits and the one run; he walked three and struck-out three.
“His stuff was just a lot better,” Mitchell said in regards to Ramirez. “He worked ahead more; his chang-up is pretty darn good and when he mixes in his fastball and has command of it he is pretty darn good.”
Trenton did most of their scoring in the fourth inning when they were able to get to Portland starter Trey Ball for three runs. The Red Sox 2013 first-round draft selection (seventh overall), yielded a leadoff double to centerfielder Rashad Crawford to lead off the frame. Shortstop Gleyber Torres then reached on an error before first baseman Mike Ford laced an opposite field hit to beat the shift; the ball split the left and center fielder and rolled to the wall and allowed Ford to leg out a two-RBI triple. A sac-fly by designated hitter Dante Bichette Jr. put Trenton ahead 3-1.
“Tonight Mike went out there and really had good at-bats,” Mitchell said of Ford’s performance at the plate. “When he is hitting gap-to-gap, that’s when he is the best. He hit that triple and that ball just kept on going; it’s good to see him because we need him and really need his production.”
The Thunder tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a wild pitch that allowed catcher Franciso Diaz to score. Caleb Frare threw two scoreless innings in relief and Cale Coshow nailed down his second save in as many nights to seal a 4-1 victory.
Notes: Bobby Mitchell pointed out that RailRiders pitcher Dietrich Enns left his start tonight with shoulder discomfort. He indicated that if it were to be a situation where Enns would miss significant action, he says one of their pitchers would wind up going up to SWB.
Mitchell also provided an update on Ronald Herrera, who is currently working to come back from a spring training shoulder injury down in Tampa. The manager said that Herrera has thrown about four innings down in Tampa and has had no setbacks thus far; he envisions him ready to return to the Thunder sometime in early May. Will Carter, he said, is still a long way away from a return.