South Jersey Baseball:
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
By Dan Loney
(Trenton, NJ)- The Thunder used a pair of 7th Inning runs, including an RBI single by Yankees OF Hideki Matsui, to beat the Portland Sea Dogs, 3-1, on Wednesday night. The win gives Trenton a 1-0 lead in the "Best of Five" Northern Division Championship Series.
Portland took a 1-0 lead in the 5th Inning against Trenton starter Phil Hughes on a two-out RBI single by LF Chris Durbin. Hughes allowed just that run on five hits in six innings. He was able to retire Portland with runners in scoring position in three of his six innings on the night, picking up strikeouts as the last out of an inning five times. Hughes recorded a Trenton post-season record 13 strikeouts on the night. That total was also a personal career-high for Hughes.
The Thunder came back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth against Portland starter Devern Hansack. With two outs, CF Brett Gardner picked up an infield hit. After a walk to Gabe Lopez, 1B Randy Ruiz delivered an RBI single to score Gardner with the tying run. Hansack retired the leadoff batter in each inning, except his last. He walked 3B J.T. Stotts to start the 7th Inning. After a fielder's choice, reliever Barry Hertzler came on and walked Lopez. Ruiz followed with another run-scoring single to put Trenton ahead, 2-1.
Matsui then followed with an RBI single for a 3-1 lead. The Yankees outfielder was 1-for-3 with an intentional walk in the game. With the 3-1 lead, Trenton used the strong relief pitching of Charlie Manning to close the door. Manning (1-0) worked three shutout innings with one hit allowed for the win. Hansack (0-1) allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings for the loss.