HARTFORD, August 4 – Yard Goats first baseman Roberto Ramos slugged a tape-measure three-run homer and starting pitcher Frank Duncan turned in a quality start against the Trenton Thunder.
But it was Mitch Horacek who saved the day, as the Hartford Yard Goats downed the Thunder Saturday night, 6-3, in Eastern League baseball action before another capacity crowd of 6,850 at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. It was Hartford’s 35th sellout of the year.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Yard Goats (52-58). Trenton scored two unearned runs in the top of the ninth inning on Friday night to take the first game of the three-game series in Hartford, 2-1.
On Saturday, Trenton (62-49), which is second in the EL’s Eastern Division, made it interesting in the ninth inning, scoring a run and loading bases, before Horacek, the left-handed reliever, entered to retire Bruce Caldwell on a fly out to left to notch the first save of his six-year professional career.
Ramos thrilled the crowd with his 10th home run into the upper deck in right-center that almost left the entire ballpark. It came in the fifth inning off Trenton’s Brian Keller, the Eastern League’s pitcher of the week, who lasted five innings. Keller allowed five runs – four earned – on six hits. He walked four and struck out seven.
For the Yard Goats, Duncan, who improved to 2-2, pitched a season-high six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out one.
Trenton, the Double A affiliate of the New York Yankees, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on consecutive two-out doubles by Trey Amburgey, Brandon Wagner and Mandy Alvarez, before Duncan settled in and allowed the Thunder only two hits over the next five innings.
Ramos scored the Yard Goats first run in the second inning on a passed ball and tied the contest in the fourth inning on a disputed sacrifice fly to right field by Brandon Bednar, that led to the ejection of Trenton catcher Jorge Saez. That set the stage for the dramatic two-run homer by Ramos in the fifth inning.
In addition to Ramos’ three-run shot, Bednar had two RBI, including a solo home run in the eighth inning. Brian Mundell also added two hits to pace Hartford (52-58). Mandy Alvarez had three hits and an RBI for Trenton.
On Friday night, the game was scoreless going into the ninth inning. Trenton’s Brandon Wagner led off the inning with a double off Hartford reliever Matt Pierpont, who had escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning.
Wagner moved to third on an error by Pierpont, attempting to pick him off at second base. Kyle Holder then drew a one-out walk, but the Yard Goats infield botched a double play ground ball hit by Wendell Rijo, that would have ended the inning, enabling Wagner to score.
Rijo later scored on a dropped pop fly in shallow left center, that turned out to be a big play, as Hartford’s Mylz Jones hit a home run down the left field line in the bottom of the ninth inning. Following a two-out single by Hartford’s Drew Weeks, winning pitcher Matt Frawley struck out Dom Nunez to end the game.