HARTFORD, August 5 – It was Harry Potter Night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park but there was no magic left for the Hartford Yard Goats at the end of the evening.
The visiting Trenton Thunder erased a two-run deficit and then won the game in the 11th inning on Mandy Alvarez’s two-run home run to earn a 4-2 Eastern League victory Sunday night before another sellout crowd of 6,845 fans. It was Alvarez’s second home run of the game and his 10th of the year.
Hartford (52-59) took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on sacrifice fly from Brian Mundell and a RBI double from Ryan Metzler.
Yard Goats starting pitcher Ryan Castellani turned in his second consecutive quality start, allowing just two runs on five hits over seven innings. He struck out four and walked just one. Hartford reliever Brian Moran pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four.
Alvarez’s home run in the fourth inning in the sixth inning off Castellani cut the Yard Goats lead to one run.
Trenton (63-49), who is second in the Eastern Division, tied the game in the seventh inning. Jhalan Jackson doubled and tied the game at 2-2 on Rashad Crawford’s two-out single.
In extra innings, minor league rules dictate that each inning begins with a runner on second base. This is to save wear and tear on minor league pitching staffs by helping to get extra inning games over sooner.
In the Trenton 10th inning, the Yard Goats turned a spectacular double play. Trenton’s Wendell Rijo began the inning at second base.
Trenton’s Rashad Crawford tried to lay down a bunt but popped it too high in the air. Hartford reliever Matt Pierpont scrambled off the mound to make a diving catch. From a sitting position, he whirled and threw back to second base and his throw beat Rijo back to the bag for a double play.
Hartford had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the 10th inning.
A sacrifice bunt from Ryan Metzler advanced the runner, Brandon Bednar, to third base. But Trenton’s hard-throwing reliever David Sosebee, who made pitches up to 95 mph, got Hartford’s Chris Rabago to ground out to shortstop and got Mylz Jones to strike out to end the threat.
Alvarez’s second home run just below the video board in left field in the top of the 11th inning gave Trenton a 4-2 lead. Alvarez had his second straight three-hit game for Trenton, including two home runs and three RBI. Pierpont, who leads the Eastern League with 27 saves, dropped to 1-3.
The Trenton bullpen, meanwhile, closed the door on the Yard Goats, as relievers James Reeves, Matt Wivinis and Sosebee retired 22 of 24 batters. Sosebee (3-2) pitched the final two innings to pick up the win for the Thunder, the Double A affiliate of the New York Yankees.
In the fourth inning, Hartford turn another outstanding double play. Left fielder Omar Carrizales made a diving catch in foul territory near the tarp on the third base line. He fired the back to first base to double up Trenton runner Trey Amburgey, who wandered too far off the base thinking that the hit would fall in.
Hartford hits the road for a three-game road trip in Harrisburg, Pa., before returning home on Friday for a three-game series with Bowie.