|© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Hansack stands guard for Sea Dogs09/12/2006 11:56 PM ET
By Stephanie Storm / Special to MLB.com
AKRON, Ohio -- Devern Hansack scattered four hits over seven innings as Portland topped Akron in Game 1 of the Eastern League Championship Series, 4-3, on Tuesday.
Hansack recorded just five strikeouts over six innings, but worked efficiently and took advantage of the early runs at a soggy Canal Park.
"Everything was working," said Hansack, who is 1-1 in two playoff games.
The Sea Dogs jumped on starter Adam Miller (1-1), roughing up the Aeros ace for a pair of runs in the first inning on four singles.
Portland hit the right-handed Miller even harder in the second and third. David Bacani reached on a triple and scored on Keoni De Renne's groundout in the second, and Luis Jimenez homered with one out in the third to give the visitors an early 4-0 advantage.
"Miller settled down after the home run," Aeros manager Tim Bogar said. "But that's not a good pattern to fall into. Before that, he was high in the strike zone, mid-thigh and up.''
Miller struck out nine batters in six frames.
Meanwhile, Hansack handcuffed the Aeros through seven dominating innings. With the solid outing, the right-hander from Nicaragua has not allowed a run in four of his last five innings.
"Hansack got ahead, pounded the zone with his fastball and kept them off balance," Portland manager Todd Claus said. "He was tremendous tonight. He probably had more in the tank, but he hasn't pitched into the eighth inning all season, and we may need him if we go to a Game 5.''
With the game in the hands of the Sea Dogs bullpen, Akron mounted a late rally.
Ivan Ochoa led off the eighth with a single against right-hander Kyle Jackson, took second on a balk and broke up the shutout bid on a hit by Wyatt Toregas up the left-field line.
But Akron's catcher was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double -- a costly move as contact hitter Trevor Crowe followed Toregas with a double that likely would have driven him in.
"I probably made the decision too late," said Toregas. "I saw the play in front of me, I was just too slow. (Left fielder Chris Durbin) had to make a good throw, and he did. ... We were down four runs. I was just trying to make something happen."
While Bogar's troops have had success most of the season being aggressive on the base paths, leading the league with 176 stolen bases, he's still working on teaching them to be smart with their speed.
"I want them to run, but under control. Wyatt got a little overexuberant," Bogar said.
With Barry Hertzler on for Jackson, the Aeros rally continued with two outs. Ryan Goleski beat out an infield single, and scored on Brian Barton's triple to the right-field corner.
"We've pretty much hit bullpens all year,'' said Bogar. "It's like we get something going and say, 'Hey, we've got a chance here,' and really begin to step up the intensity."
But with Akron's Brad Snyder coming to the plate, Claus went to his bullpen for the third time in the inning, tapping left-hander Mike Bumatay. Snyder took the count full and even fouled off a few pitches, but ended up popping out to the catcher with Akron still trailing by a run.
"Bumatay knows that's the guy he has to get out in this series,'' Claus said.
Akron appeared to have little chance with Portland closer Edgar Martinez on in the ninth, as the burly converted catcher set the side down in order to earn the save.
"We knew they'd fight back, but we have a lot of confidence in our bullpen,'' said Claus. "All of those guys have been solid all year.''
The teams meet again in Game 2 at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday in Akron.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.