Terry Doyle outdueled in Portland debut
PORTLAND — Two hours, five minutes.
The time of the game spoke of the experienced pitchers’ command Monday afternoon at Hadlock Field, as New Britain Rock Cats starter Virgil Vazquez outdueled Portland’s Terry Doyle in a 2-1 New Britain win.
Portland, shut out for eight innings, scored a run in the ninth on Garin Cecchini’s RBI single and had runners on first and third with one out. But Vazquez got a strikeout and then a line-drive out to right field.
Both pitchers had been in Triple-A until recently, and Vazquez has also logged some big-league time.
Vazquez (1-2), who has pitched for Detroit and Pittsburgh, carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and ended up allowing four hits, one walk and one run while striking out nine over nine innings.
Doyle (0-1), a product of Salem High School, pitched eight innings in his Sea Dogs debut. His line included seven hits, two runs, two walks and five strikeouts.
He allowed two solo home runs, to Daniel Ortiz and Jordan Parraz, which made the difference.
“Both Doyle and Vazquez utilized their pitches and were very efficient,” Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. “Outstanding performances.”
Doyle, 27, had just come down from Triple-A Pawtucket. He signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox this year after coming up through the White Sox system.
Chris Balcom-Miller relieved Doyle in the ninth and threw a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.
Vazquez signed a minor-league contract with the Twins this season. He last appeared in the majors in 2009. Vazquez moved on to the Rays organization in 2010 and, for the previous two years, was pitching in the independent leagues.
Using his curveball more, Vazquez held Portland hitless until Derrik Gibson’s line drive single to right, with one out in the sixth inning.
In the ninth, Gibson led off with an infield single on a check-swing dribbler. With one out, Peter Hissey singled up the middle. Cecchini followed with a grounder to center field, scoring Gibson, and sending Hissey to third base.
But Vasquez struck out Tony Thomas on a 2-2 curveball, and Michael Almanzar lined out to right.
The loss sent the Sea Dogs (45-42) into the All-Star break in second place in the Eastern League East Division, a game ahead of third-place Trenton (45-44), two games ahead of the Rock Cats (44-45) and three ahead of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (43-36). Boles is pleased with the record, but likes the player development more.
“We’ve had some guys who earned promotions to Triple-A. That’s the biggest thing,” Boles said. “We want to keep feeding the Triple-A club and, potentially, the big-league club.”
Pitchers Brandon Workman, Drake Britton, Chris Martin and Brock Huntzinger, along with shortstop Xander Bogaerts, have gone up to Pawtucket this year.
After the two-day All-Star break, Portland will head out on a seven-day road trip to Binghamton and New Hampshire, starting Thursday against the Mets. They’ll be in Manchester, N.H., to face the Fisher Cats Monday through Wednesday, with all three games scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. start.