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Back-to-back homers lift red-hot Yard Goats past Portland for fifth straight win

Mylz Jones hit a home run in the eighth inning that helped the Yard Goats beat Portland Tuesday for their fifth straight victory.

HARTFORD, April 24 – Back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning lifted the Hartford Yard Goats to their fifth consecutive win Tuesday night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

Home runs from Ryan Metzler and Mylz Jones helped the Yard Goats win their fifth straight game with a 4-1 Eastern League victory over the Portland Sea Dogs before an announced crowd of 3,423 fans. The two home runs snapped a 1-1 tie.

The Yard Goats, who began the season with a six-game losing streak, have won nine of their last 12 games and have reached the .500 record for the first time this season at 9-9.

Both home runs to left field were disputed by the Sea Dogs. Portland’s first-year manager Darren Fenster was ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Sean Shafer-Markle following Metzler’s two-run home run that gave the Yard Goats a 3-1 lead.

Brendan Rodgers led off the inning with a walk off Portland reliever Teddy Stankiewicz, who struck out Sam Hilliard and Bobby Wernes. That set the stage for Metzler’s two-out homer – his first home run of the season. Jones followed with his second home run of the season – also to left field – for a 4-1 lead.

In the ninth, Yard Goat closer Matt Pierpont set down the side in order to earn his league-leading sixth save of the season.

Jones ended up with three hits, including his home run and an RBI.  Daza had two hits and Metzler the big two-run home run.

Stankiewicz, who shut down Hartford a week ago in Portland, was close to repeating that performance before giving up the home runs in the eighth inning. Stankiewicz came in the fourth inning, relieving starter Travis Lakins, who went three innings after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the day.

Mitch Horacek also added to the four scoreless innings tossed by the Yard Goats bullpen.  Yard Goats hurlers held Portland to just three hits.

Yard Goats starter Ryan Castellani cruised through the first four innings, holding the Red Sox Double-A affiliate without a hit. However, the Colorado Rockies’ second round draft pick in 2014 surrendered two walks to start the fifth inning.  Following a sacrifice, Danny Mars delivered the Dogs’ first run and hit on a single to shallow center that tied the game at 1-1.

Castellani, who was lifted after walking the first two batters in the sixth inning, allowed the one run on one hit, with six walks and five strike outs.  In the process, he lowered his ERA to 2.11.

Hartford took a 1-0 advantage in the third inning, courtesy of a Portland error.

Garrett Hampson extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games with a single to center and advanced to third on a single by the red-hot hitting Yonathan Daza (11 hits in his last 22 at bats).  With Daza taking a wide turn off of first base, Portland second baseman Nick Lovullo tried to nail him but bounced the ball in the dirt, enabling Hampson to score.

The Yard Goats conclude the three-game series with Hartford Wednesday night at Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium.

Hartford 4, Portland 1
At Hartford
Portland (6-11)                        000  010  000  — 1-3-1
Hartford (9-9)                          001  000  03x  — 4-9-0
Travis Lakins, Teddy Stankiewicz (4) and Isaias Lucena; Ryan Castellani, Mitch Horacek (6), Marc Magliaro (8), Matt Pierpont (9) and Chris Rabago; WP: Magliaro (2-1); LP: Stankiewicz (1-3); Save: Pierpont (H) 6; 2B: Yonathan Daza (H); HR: Ryan Metzler (H), Mylz Jones (H)

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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