The Bowie Baysox notched their 60th victory of the year with a win over the Portland Sea Dogs 6-3 Wednesday night at Hadlock Field. The Baysox offense continued to hum along, as it produced more than 10 hits for the third consecutive game as the Baysox out-hit the Sea Dogs 14-9.
In their last two games against Portland, the Baysox have hit 13 doubles, including second baseman Ryan Adams' 37th two-bagger of the year Wednesday as he closes in on the Baysox single-season record of 39 doubles.
Steve Johnson earned the win with one run on six hits through 5.0 innings, as he struck out four and walked two. The win was Johnson's fourth in a row, the first time he has won four consecutive starts since playing with Class-A Great Lakes in 2008. The lone run he surrendered came on an Anthony Rizzo home run, moving Johnson back atop the Eastern League in home runs surrendered, with 20.
The Baysox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Catcher Steve Lerud hit a one-out double to center field before center fielder Jonathan Tucker drew a walk. Both runners scored on shortstop Carlos Rojas' double to left- center field.
Rojas has been playing very well lately, with a seven-game hit streak and a double in each of his last three games. He has provided a spark to the Baysox offense from the bottom of the order, with 12 RBIs during his current hitting streak.
Portland cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second inning, when Rizzo led off with a home run over the center-field wall off Johnson's 3-2 pitch. Johnson next faced Rizzo in the bottom of the third with two outs and the bases loaded, and got a measure of payback as he struck Rizzo out to escape the inning.
Adams started a Baysox rally in the top of the fifth inning with a leadoff single to shallow right field. After left fielder Tyler Henson flied out, Guzman took a ball before crushing the next pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run home run, his 25th of the season. Guzman is within striking distance of Walter Young's 2004 Baysox record total of 33 home runs, and will need nine home runs in the final 32 games to claim the title.
Third baseman Brandon Waring continued the rally with a two-out double to left field and he moved to third base as Lerud reached first on Rizzo's fielding error at first base. Tucker drove Waring in for a 5-1 Baysox advantage with a single to right field that chased Portland starter Kyle Weiland from the game.
First baseman Joe Mahoney was removed from the game after the fourth inning and replaced by Danny Figueroa, who took center field as Tucker moved to right field in place of Guzman, who slid up to first base.
Recent Baltimore Orioles acquisition Wynn Pelzer took over for Johnson on the mound in the sixth inning. He held the Sea Dogs down with one hit in 2.0 scoreless innings as he struck out two batters and walked one.
Guzman walked to start the seventh inning and Figueroa advanced him to second base with a single into left field. Waring plated Guzman with his second double of the night, giving the Baysox a 6-1 lead.
Hulking right-hander Jose Diaz came on in relief of Pelzer in the bottom of the eighth inning, and gave up a quick rally as he walked the leadoff hitter before Rizzo hit his second home run of the night, a two-run shot to center field that brought the score to 6-3. Rizzo has been a nuisance for the Baysox in the series' first two games, as he has batted 7-for-9 with seven RBIs and six extra-base hits.
Diaz recovered with three consecutive outs, and set the stage for Eastern League All-Star Pedro Beato to protect a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. A walk and a single put runners at first and second base with one out, but Beato drew Nate Spears into an around-the-horn double play to end the game as Beato recorded his 12th save of the year.
The win keeps the Baysox in second place in the six-team Eastern Division Western Division, 4.0 games behind division leaders Altoona. The Baysox are 2.5 games ahead of third place Harrisburg, which leapfrogged the Akron Aeros in the chase for the final playoff spot in the West.
Bowie plays on Portland once more in a noon start Thursday and moves on to a three-game set in the Granite State against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Friday. They return home Tuesday, August 10 for three games with the Sea Dogs. That series includes a spectacular fireworks show on Tuesday, August 10, for Navy Night and Orioles Pride Night on August 12.
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