HARTFORD, May 14 – One of the best prospects in minor league baseball helped lift the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to a 10-5 Eastern League victory over the Hartford Yard Goats Monday night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., the son of former Montreal Expos’ player Vladimir Guerrero who will be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, hit a home run in his first at-bat and had three hits and two RBI to lead the Fisher Cats before 4,052 fans in Hartford.
New Hampshire received a grand slam from Juan Kelly in the eighth inning that helped hand the Yard Goats (21-16) just their second loss at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in their 15 games in downtown Hartford. The Fisher Cats (21-13) beat Hartford for the sixth time in seven games.
Kelly unloaded his upper deck blast off of Scott Griggs, who relieved Jason Garcia, after the first two Fisher Cats walked. A single by Bo Bichette, whose dad, ex-big leaguer Dante Bichette (Colorado Rockies) was in attendance, loaded the bases, setting the stage for Kelly’s dramatics.
Guerrero opened the scoring in the first inning with his upper deck home run. New Hampshire batted around to score three runs in the second inning against Hartford’s starting pitcher Jack Wynkoop (2-2).
With one out, New Hampshire’s Patrick Cantwell reached base on a throwing error by Yard Goats infielder Brendan Rodgers and scored on a triple by Conor Panas. A double by Andrew Guillotte knocked in the second run and Guillotte scored on a single by Gunner Heidt.
The Yard Goats rallied for three runs in the third inning. Mylz Jones began the frame with the first of his three hits, a double, and scored on a single by Garrett Hampson. Hartford’s Yonathan Daza and Rodgers had RBI singles cut the lead to 4-3.
New Hampshire chased Wynkoop in the fourth, when the first four hitters reached base safely. Guerrero and Cavan Biggio had RBI singles to boost the New Hampshire lead to 6-3.
But Hartford battled back. Dom Nunez opened the Yard Goats’ fifth with a double and scored on a throwing error by Guerrero on a ball hit by Sam Hilliard to the third baseman. Hartford sliced the lead to 6-5 on a solo home run by Jones to left-center.
Hartford, which entered the game second in the league in hitting (.258) behind New Hampshire (.271), banged out 12 hits. Jones led the way with three hits, including a solo home run. Wes Rogers, Hampson and Daza each had two hits.
Guerrero, who raised his league-leading batting average to .405, had three hits, including a home run and two RBI. Bichette and Panas each had three hits to pace the Fisher Cats 15-hit assault.
The Yard Goats return to action on Tuesday when they host New Hampshire in the second game of a three-game series beginning at 7 p.m.
New Hampshire 10, Hartford 5
New Hampshire (21-13) 130 200 040 – 10-15-2
Hartford (21-16) 003 011 000 — 5-12-1
WP: Harris (2-3); LP: Wynkoop (2-2)