Goats Take Bite out of Dogs to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive
HARTFORD - Mylz Jones's two-run homer in the second and stellar pitching by the bullpen, lifted the Hartford Yard Goats to a 5-3 win over the Portland Sea Dogs, 5-3, Thursday night, before a standing-room-only crowd of 6,850 at Dunkin' Donuts Park. Hartford (25-28) took three of four from the Sea Dogs and captured the season series against the Red Sox affiliate 12-6. With first place Reading losing, the Yard Goats kept their playoff hopes alive, pulling to within six games with 15 to play. Portland remains 4 1/2 games back.
It was the 43rd sellout of the season and 21st consecutive sellout at Dunkin' Donuts Park. Hartford, which has played to 25 capacity crowds, has drawn 361,756 fans to lead the Eastern League in attendance.
The Yard Goats took a lead they never relinquished with three runs in the third against Portland starter Denyi Reyes. Jones cranked a two-run homer into the left-field seats, his sixth of the year. Later in the frame, Manny Melendez delivered Carlos Herrera, who had reached on a double, with a single to left.
Portland (27-27) touched reliever Alexander Guillen for a run in the fifth on Charlie Madden's home run. Guillen took over for starter Jack Wynkoop, who was removed after three scoreless innings for an undisclosed injury.
With the bases loaded in the fifth inning, Reyes hit Brian Serven with a pitch to give Hartford a 4-1 lead, but the Dogs took a bite out of the advantage with two in the sixth off of reliever Justin Lawrence on Madden's sacrifice fly and an RBI-single by Nick Lovullo. Hartford tacked on a run in the seventh on an RBI fielder's choice grounder by Colton Welker.
Southpaw Mitch Horacek improved to 4-0, retiring six of the seven batters he faced. Scott Griggs nailed down his 12th save, inducing pinch hitter Jerry Downs to hit into a game-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Vizcaino had a single, double and two runs scored for the Yard Goats, while Jones added a two-run homer. Madden had a home run and two RBI, while Jarren Duran added two hits for Portland.
Reyes, who had pitched six or more innings in 14 straight starts, lasted five innings. He allowed four runs on six hits, walked one and struck out two, as he dropped to 7-10.
Hartford has won four of their last five series and finish the home stand, 5-2.
The Yard Goats launch a six-game road trip at Binghamton Friday at 7:05 PM. RHP Matt Dennis will pitch for Hartford against righty Tommy Wilson for the Mets' affiliate. The game will be broadcast on News Radio 1410 AM, on 100.9 FM and on the internet on newsradio1410.iheart.com. The Yard Goats return home to start their final home stand of the season on Aug. 22 against Reading at 7:05 p.m. The ZOOperstars will make their annual appearance at Dunkin' Donuts Part that night.
Portland 3-7-0Hartford 5-7-2
WP- Mitch Horacek (4-0)
LP- Denyi Reyes (7-10)
S- Scott Griggs (12)
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