Owens handcuffs Fisher Cats
In a game featuring the top pitching prospects from both organizations, Henry Owens nearly pitched a no-hitter for the Sea Dogs.
The lefthander settled for a one-hitter over 7 2/3-innings to lead Portland past New Hampshire, 8-2, in an Eastern League contest before 3,261 fans at Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine, Thursday.
On 96 pitches, 56 for strikes, Owens (4-2) allowed two earned runs and five walks, striking out six.
In the first three innings, Owens allowed a lead-off walk to Brad Glenn in the second inning and a one-out walk to Jonathan Jones in the third frame. Owens retired the next eight batters before walking Jones again to lead off the sixth inning.
He proceeded to retire six more batters before walking Nashua’s Kevin Nolan and Brian Van Kirk to open the eighth inning. He got Jones and Jon Berti to ground out, which produced New Hampshire’s first run, before Andy Burns broke up the no-hit bid with a double to left, scoring Van Kirk with New Hampshire’s second run.
That hit ended Owens’ outing and Miguel Celestino got the last four outs for 20-11 Portland. New Hampshire fell to 14-18.
Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez (1-2), who was selected in the first round (34th overall) in the 2010 first-year player draft, only threw 53 pitches, 26 for strikes over three innings.
The righthander allowed two hits, three earned runs, three walks and fanned two. Sanchez retired the first eight batters before Portland rallied for three runs with two outs in the third inning.
Shannon Wilkerson walked and rambled to third base when Mookie Betts, who entered the game batting .402, singled to right field. Betts was named the Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2013. He finished the game 1-for-5, dropping his average to .394.
A walk to Deven Marrero loaded the bases for Travis Shaw who cleared them with a three-run double to center. After another walk to Stefan Welch, Sanchez completed his brief outing with a strikeout to end the frame.
Anderson pitched the next three innings for New Hampshire and allowed four runs on four hits.
The four-game series resumes Friday at 6 p.m. when New Hampshire sends righty Deck McGuire (3-3, 3.86) to the hill to duel Portland lefty Brian Johnson (1-0, 0.00).