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April 26, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Kyle Hart leads Sea Dogs' combined no-hitter

4/26 Cup of Coffee: History was made Thursdy night, as the Portland Sea Dogs registered their third nine-inning no-hitter in team history and first since affiliating with the Red Sox in 2003. Starter Kyle Hart (pictured, left) and relievers Daniel McGrath and Adam Lau combined to strike out nine while holding Binghamton hitless. The no-hitter was the hightlight of a perfect day in the system. Triston Casas powered Greenville, who prevailed in a slugfest, while Salem won in extra innings after squandering an early lead. Pawtucket used a pair of solo homers and a bases-loaded double to get back in the win column


In an afternoon contest, Pawtucket put an end to its five-game losing streak. Cole Sturgeon and Sam Travis contributed early with solo home runs, the first of the season for both players. After the Iron Pigs evened things up, Rusney Castillo ripped a seventh-inning bases-clearing double that proved to be the decisive blow. Starter Erasmo Ramirez allowed two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings in his return to the PawSox after a brief appearance on the major league roster. Matthew Gorst, Bobby Poyner, and Jenrry Mejia combined for 4 1/3 shutout innings in relief, with Poyner getting credit for the win. Mejia has been unscored upon in seven of his nine appearances.


The Portland Sea Dogs completed their fourth no-hitter, and third nine-inning no-no, in franchise history. Kyle Hart went the first 6 2/3 innings, striking out six, walking one, and twice hitting Andres Gimenez with pitches. Hart threw 63 of his 96 pitches for strikes as he lowered his ERA to 2.74 on the young season. Daniel McGrath entered with one on and two out in the seventh, inducing a fly ball to end the frame and striking out a pair in a scoreless eighth. Adam Lau (pictured, right) walked one and struck out one to get the save. Lau has not allowed a run in his six appearances this year, surrendering just three hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Binghamton's staff was able to keep pace, holding Portland scoreless into the seventh inning. Bobby Dalbec singled, advanced on a wild pitch, and then came in to score on a Luke Tendler base hit to break the tie. The insurance run came in similar fashion: Dalbec singled again, got to third on a pair of wild pitches, and then was plated by Tendler's sacrifice fly. 


After squandering an early 5-1 lead, Salem scored a pair in the 10th to come away with the win. Pedro Castellanos led the offense, going 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. Ryan Fitzgerald walked twice and delivered a pair of sacrifice flies as he continues his excellent April. Jarren Duran scored three runs, including the go-ahead score as the automatic runner in the 10th. Starter Daniel Gonzalez allowed two runs in five innings. Andrew Politi got the win, allowing one unearned run in two innings, striking out two without issuing a walk.


It was an evening of dramatic turnarounds for the Drive. A seven-run Lexington sixth inning eliminated a 6-2 Greenville advantage but the Drive came back immediately with four in the seventh. The decisive blow was a two-run homer off the bat of 2018 first-round pick Triston Casas. Casas had previously doubled and scored, and he has increased his OPS over the past three games from .600 to .746. Cole Brannen scored a pair of runs as part of a 1-for-3 effort that included a pair of walks. Jordan Wren added a third-inning solo home run.

One the mound, Brayan Bello was solid after an uneven first inning. The 19-year-old righty surrendered three singles and a walk before recording his first out, but then settled in, striking out the next two batters and getting through five innings. Bello finished with two runs on five hits, striking out seven, and retiring the final 10 batters he faced. The SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Week curse struck Yorvin Pantoja, who followed Bello with a nightmarish outing. Pantoja gave up seven runs while retiring only one batter, walking two and giving up five hits. Alex Demchack shut down the Legends, striking out five in 3 2/3 hitless innings to record his first professional win.


Player of the Day: There were several notable performances on Thursday but there is no question that the story is Kyle Hart and his role in Portland's combined no-hitter. The 2016 draftee was solid for Portland last year but a veteran-laden Pawtucket rotation has the former Indiana Hoosier repeating the level. His outing puts him in good company as all three pitchers to start a Sea Dogs no-hitter went on to start games for the Red Sox, though they took paths to get there. In 2014, Henry Owens kicked off the season with a weather-shortened six-inning no-hitter, the only one since Portland became a Red Sox affiliate in 2003. While members of the Marlins organization, future Boston starters Josh Beckett and Brad Penny also started combined no-hitters in 2001 and 1999, respectively. 

Photo Credit: Kyle Hart, Adam Lau by Kelly O'Connor