Manchester, New Hampshire – As the Toronto Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (9-12, 40-50) defeated the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox, 14-7, 44- 46), 9-7, 50 miles north at Delta Dental Stadium to win the series on Sunday afternoon.
Savvy baserunning was the storyline early. Clutch hitting helped in the middle frames. In the end, Orelvis Martinez’s two home runs made the difference. He’s hit three big flies in his last two games and has two multi-homer games this season. Martinez is tied for second in the league in home runs with 22.
Earlier in the game, small ball ruled. Portland’s David Hamilton started the game with a single bot and moved to third with two stolen bases. He came home to score on a Chris Koss single. Trailing, 1-0, early, the Fisher Cats responded with a pair of runs at the bottom of the first.
Rafael Lantigua took advantage of a Davis Schneider rundown between first and second after Addison Barger grounded out. Lantigua came home to score, beating out the throw to the plate. He scored four runs in the three-game series. Schneider then scored when John Aiello was caught stealing at second, putting New Hampshire up, 2-1.
The Sea Dogs and Fisher Cats then exchanged a pair of solo homers: Stephen Scott went yard in the top of the second, and Martinez hit his first homer in the fourth. He finished Sunday 3-for-4 with four RBIs in his second straight three-hit game.
The teams continued to trade runs across the sixth and seventh. There were four lead changes in the game.
Portland went up, 5-3, with three runs in the sixth thanks to a walk, three straight singles and an RBI groundout. New Hampshire took the lead right back, though. Phil Clarke drove in two runs with a single into right field, and Martinez scored on a wild pitch. Clarke now has 25 RBIs this season.
With a 6-5 lead after six innings, the long ball again haunted New Hampshire. Hudson Potts hit a bomb to left-center field in the seventh, tying the game, 6-6.
Martinez answered the call with a three-run jack in the bottom of the seventh, putting the Fisher Cats up for good. They went on to win, 9-7.
While the 20-year-old Dominican prospect made a splash, the Fisher Cats put together a complete game on all sides. Eight of the nine starters had a hit, and John Aiello finished 2-for-4. Addison Barger doubled and has hits in eight of his nine games with New Hampshire.
The Fisher Cats used seven pitchers on Sunday in the 97-degree heat. Former big leaguer Andrew Moore struck out four in his New Hampshire debut, and Sean Rackoski (W, 5-1) picked up another win. Jake Elliott earned the save with two innings and two strikeouts in his first game with New Hampshire since June 1, when he also earned a save Portland.
The Fisher Cats are off tomorrow and head to Binghamton, New York for a six-game series against the Rumble Ponies (New York Mets) starting on Tuesday, July 26. New Hampshire returns to Delta Dental Stadium for a home series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants) on August 2.