MANCHESTER, N.H., May 28 – On Sunday, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats scored on a suicide squeeze bunt in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Hartford Yard Goats in Eastern League play, 3-2.
On Memorial Day, the host Fisher Cats needed no such late-inning heroics, leading from start to finish in a 5-2 victory. The win gives first place New Hampshire (31-18) their 12th victory in 14 games over the Yard Goats (26-25) this season. The Fisher Cats have won three straight over the Yard Goats.
Hartford will look for some better luck when they open a six-game homestand at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in downtown Hartford on Tuesday night against the Harrisburg Senators.
On Monday, New Hampshire’s Juan Kelly continue to batter Yard Goats pitching as he has all season long. Kelly had a home run, a double and three RBI to lead the Toronto Blue Jays’ Double A affiliate.
New Hampshire’s Vladmir Guerrero, Jr., who leads the Eastern League in hitting with a .433 average, had a RBI single to help the Fisher Cats take an early 1-0 lead. Kelly’s two-run double in the third inning extended the lead to 3-0.
The Yard Goats cut the lead to one run, 3-2, in the fifth inning on an RBI-ground out by catcher Chris Rabago and a run-scoring single by Dom Nunez.
But Kelly delivered his third home run of the five-game series, a shot over the center field wall in the eighth inning, He had eight RBI in the four-game series against Hartford and has four home runs and 14 RBI in 10 games off Yard Goats’ pitching this year.
Mylz Jones and Scott Burcham each had two hits for Hartford. Yard Goats starter Peter Lambert (3-2) pitched five innings and allowed four runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out four.
On Sunday afternoon, Gunner Heidt’s suicide squeeze bunt scored Andrew Guillotte from third base with one out in the bottom of the ninth to give the Fisher Cats a 3-2 victory.
With left-handed pitcher Sean Nolin on the mound for Hartford in the ninth inning and the scored tied at 2-2, Guillotte looped a one-out single into right center, then moved to second on a balk. An infield single by Connor Panas advanced Guillotte to third, setting the table for Heidt’s bunt single to the right of the mound.
Ryan Metzler staked the Yard Goats to a 1-0 lead in the first inning with an RBI-single off of New Hampshire pitcher Patrick Murphy, who was making his Double-A debut. Murphy and Hartford starter Jesus Tinoco then settled into a pitchers’ duel.
Jones hit a double off Murphy to start the sixth inning, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Scott Burcham’s sacrifice fly to take a 2-0 lead.
But New Hampshire tied it in the bottom of the sixth inning, stringing together four straight singles including a pair of RBI singles from Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.
Tinco went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. He walked one and fanned two. Murphy pitched six innings of four-hit baseball, allowing two runs. He walked three and struck out six.
Brian Mundell led Hartford with two hits, while Metzler added an RBI-single. Mundell had two hits, including a double in a 4-1 loss to the Cats on Saturday night.