PORTLAND, Maine – A late comeback fell short on Monday with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats falling short to the Portland Sea Dogs, 4-3.
One could say that the contest consisted of two parts: the four innings with Portland Starting Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, currently rehabbing an ankle injury before he returns to Boston, and the five innings after his departure.
Rodriguez struck out eight and allowed just one hit during his performance, holding the Fisher Cats at bay while Portland grabbed a quick run on a passed ball in the second and three more runs in the fourth.
After Rodriguez left the scene, New Hampshire obtained momentum, grabbing runs in the fifth and sixth, and might have added another in the seventh if not for Bo Bichette’s failed base stealing attempt.
New Hampshire finally brought the game within a run in the top of the ninth, as Bichette’s single brought Juan Kelly home.
Only an eight-pitch strikeout by Forest Wall finally finished off New Hampshire once and for all, stranding Bichette and sealing Portland’s victory.
That strikeout was one of four from Dedgar Jimenez, who climbed to 8-7 with the win.
Jimenez pitched the rest of the contest after the conclusion of Rodriguez’ day, allowing seven hits and a walk.
The loss went to Aaron Sanchez, his first in the Eastern League this season.
Sanchez gave up three earned runs off six hits and four walks, exiting after 4 1/3rd innings.
At the plate, Jeremy Rivera collected two hits and two RBI for Portland while the Fisher Cats got multi-hit days from Bichette and Jon Berti.
The win delays Portland’s playoff elimination for another day, while New Hampshire can clinch their ticket with any combination of seven wins or seven Binghamton/Reading losses.
New Hampshire seeks to lower that magic number on Tuesday they send T.J. Zeuch (8-4, 3.34 ERA) against Portland’s Daniel McGrath (2-3, 3.59 ERA).