Through the first 11 innings, Bobby Dalbec was all Double-A Portland had offensively. In the 12th, the rest of the team finally matched his output. Ultimately, though, it still was not enough.
The third-ranked Red Sox prospect recorded his first career three-homer game and added a double in the Sea Dogs' 8-7, 12-inning loss to Trenton on Saturday at Arm & Hammer Park. It was Portland's first hat trick since Randy Rigsby on July 11, 2002, and the first since the team became a Boston affiliate in '03.
Video: Dogs' Dalbec smacks third homer
Heading to the 12th tied, 3-3, all Portland had mustered was Dalbec's three hits -- two homers and a double. Then, after designated runner Jerry Downs scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Yankees No. 23 prospect Domingo Acevedo, Jhon Nunez singled to right. Two batters later, Brett Netzer plated Nunez with a two-run shot that put the Sea Dogs ahead 6-3. Dalbec followed with his third homer of the night and sixth this season to make it 7-3, seemingly putting the game out of reach.
Trenton begged to differ.
The Thunder turned in an even more impressive rally in the bottom of the frame, stringing together four straight two-out hits in a five-run inning capped by Zack Zehner's walk-off triple. The teams combined for seven hits and nine runs in the raucous final frame.
Gameday box score
To go from the high of such a thrilling potential comeback win, powered by a career night, to the low of such a heartbreaking loss is not easy. In Dalbec's eyes, that's just the way the game goes sometimes.
"It's always nice to have a good individual performance ... that's all you really can do, is try your best to help the team win every pitch and every at-bat," he said. "Obviously, it [stinks] that we had a tough loss. [Portland reliever Jordan Weems] looked pretty good, just things kind of weren't working his way, I guess. They had some good two-strike hits, two very clutch hits. That's kind of the way the ball rolls sometimes."
Dalbec's first homer came in the fourth, when he cranked a solo shot to left-center field off Yankees No. 16 prospect Garrett Whitlock after grounding out against the right-hander in the first. His next time up, he battled for seven pitches against righty Will Carter before sending his second long ball out to left.
Video: Portland's Dalbec crushes second homer
In the eighth, the 23-year-old stroked a double down the left field line off lefty Trevor Lane that nearly scored Netzer, who was thrown out at the plate.The rally was not over, however, as Joey Curletta reached on a throwing error by third baseman Angel Aguilar that allowed Dalbec to come around with the tying run.
Acevedo (5-1), the fifth Trenton pitcher of the game, picked up the win. He allowed four runs -- three earned -- on three hits while striking out three in two innings.
Weems (0-1) yielded five runs -- four earned -- with four hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. He struck out two.
It was Dalbec's fifth career multi-homer game and his third with the Sea Dogs. Most recently, he went deep twice on Aug. 9 in a 10-9 win over Erie. The University of Arizona product finished last season with 32 homers and a .257/.361/.558 slash line across two levels. He's homered 58 times since the Red Sox selected him in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft.
As he looks to build on that success, he sees the biggest focus as simply continuing to produce on a daily basis.
2019 Minor League milestones
"The power's going to be there regardless, whether I'm striking out a lot or not striking out a lot," Dalbec said. "I think the home runs will come. So, I'm just working on being more consistent each day and each at-bat."
That begins with bouncing back from this loss. Portland has a quick turnaround, as the series finale with Trenton awaits Sunday afternoon. While this one certainly does sting, Dalbec is confident he and his teammates will be able to respond.
"We've got to get out there and play the same game tomorrow and get after it," he said. "You can't really just sit there and feel sorry for yourself. As a team after a loss like that, you've kind of just got to get after it the next day."