August 16, 2009
By David Driver
For the Press Herald
Used with permission
BOWIE, Md. — The Portland Sea Dogs had Bowie Baysox starter Ryohei Tanaka on the ropes, scoring three runs in the second inning and getting two straight hits to start the third.
But Tanaka, signed by the Baltimore Orioles out of Japan earlier this year, retired the next 15 batters, and the Sea Dogs managed just one more hit in a 4-3 loss Saturday night.
Tanaka (3-2), relying on his slider, forced several Sea Dogs to take weak swings as he kept his team in position to make a comeback.
"He was good when he needed to be," said Portland right fielder Daniel Nava. "We had the momentum going. We had him, and unfortunately we couldn't put him away. He did what he needed to do to get out of the jam."
"He got ahead of guys," Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler said. "He threw a slider and fastball away. He works ahead. That is the biggest thing. He made the big pitches and got the outs when he needed them."
Portland (58-60), which fell 1 1/2 games behind New Britain in the battle for the second playoff spot in the Eastern League's Northern Division, took a 3-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run double by Jason Place and an RBI double Iggy Suarez.
Bowie got a run back in the bottom of the second when Adam Donachie's grounder went under the glove of shortstop Yamaico Navarro for an RBI single.
Miguel Abreu tied the game with a two-run double in the third. Bowie then took the lead in the sixth with an unearned run against Jarod Plummer (8-7), who gave up a leadoff double to Dave Krynzel.
After a strikeout, Jason White, the No. 9 hitter, hit a grounder to the right side, but the throw by second baseman Ryan Khoury drew first baseman Jon Still off the bag. Krynzel advanced to third on the play and scored on Jonathan Tucker's sacrifice fly to center.
"We didn't play defense for two balls," Beyeler said. "You can't do that against a good team."
What happened on the throw by Khoury?
"I think it slipped out of his hand. Maybe it was wet. It just kind of slipped," Beyeler said.
Khoury just missed a tying home run with one out in the ninth when his fly ball was caught on the warning track in left.
Plummer allowed three earned runs in six innings.
Chad Thall took over on the mound for Bowie in the top of the eighth. The streak of 15 straight outs was broken by Ryan Kalish's leadoff single, but Thall retired the next three batters, and Luis Lebron pitched a hitless ninth for the save.
The Baysox (62-57) left the bases loaded in the eighth against Richie Lentz, who fanned Josh Bell and Eric Crozier.