Despite an early 3-0 lead and a middle-innings comeback, the Thunder dropped their seventh straight game with a 7-6 loss to the Hartford Yard Goats on Saturday night at ARM & HAMMER Park.
The defeat handed the Thunder (7-12, 45-39) a second straight series loss and gave the team its first seven-game losing streak since August 2012. The Thunder left 12 runners stranded in the contest, matching a season-high.
Chris Gittens slugged a three-run homer off Hartford (9-9, 46-39) starter Heath Holder in the first inning, putting the Thunder up 3-0 and giving Gittens his team-leading 14th home run of the season.
But after both teams scored one run in the third, making the score 4-1, the floodgates opened in the top of the fourth. After a walk and a double put runners on second and third to open the inning, Hartford's Scott Burcham delivered a one-out single to center. Tyler Nevin scored from third, and as Thunder center fielder Matt Lipka misplayed the ball, allowing Arvicent Perez to score from second and Burcham to reach third. The tying run then scored on a Mandy Alvarez throwing error, and after a balk by Thunder starter Nick Green (1-2) moved Mylz Jones to second base, Manny Melendez singled to give the Yard Goats a 5-4 lead.
The Thunder retook the lead in the fifth, as Kellin Deglan hit a game-tying solo homer and Matt Lipka delivered a go-ahead RBI-double to left. But Chris Rabago put Hartford back in front, 7-6, with a two-run double off Green in the top of the sixth.
Yard Goats relievers Tate Scioneaux, Justin Lawrence, and Rayan Gonzalez combined to hold the Thunder scoreless from the sixth inning onward.
Gittens and Alvarez provided bright spots for the Thunder offensively, as Gittens finished a triple shy of the cycle and Alvarez recorded two hits to extend his on-base streak to 15 games. Deglan contributed three hits, including a leadoff single in the ninth that put the tying run on base.
Your Thunder conclude their homestand on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. against the Yard Goats. RHP Albert Abreu (4-7, 4.15) will start for the Thunder, and RHP Matt Dennis (0-0, 5.63) will go for Hartford. For the Thunder's Christmas in July celebration, the first 1,000 fans ages 14 and up will receive a snow globe, presented by NJM Insurance. Tickets are available by phone at 609-394-3300 or online at TrentonThunder.com.