RubberDucks blanked in series tiebreaker with Sea Dogs, 8-0
Jordan Smith singled twice for the RubberDucks on Sunday afternoon.
AKRON, OH. — In front of a Father’s Day crowd at Canal Park, it was all Sea Dogs from the beginning to the end in the series tiebreaker on Sunday afternoon.
Left fielder Keury De La Cruz started things off for the Portland in the top of the second when he hit his first home run in Double-A, a solo shot off of Cody Anderson that put his team up by one run after two innings.
Akron finally got going in the third inning when Justin Toole singled up the middle. Tyler Naquin followed with a double that hugged the right-field line and advanced Toole to second, extending his hitting streak to 17 games. The RubberDucks were unable to take advantage of the opportunity however, as Portland starter Brian Johnson struck out Francisco Lindor and Tony Wolters out in succession, effectively getting himself out of the two-base jam in the bottom of the third.
Johnson (5-1, 1.71) earned the win and was sensational in his start, blanking Akron on four hits in six scoreless innings. Other than his five strikeouts, the lefty got 8 of his 18 outs via the groundout.
Manager David Wallace is glad his guys are getting the experience facing top-quality competition on the mound, “The more of those type of guys that our guys can face, the quicker they’re going to develop into better hitters that are going to be able to play in the big leagues, because those are the guys you’re going to face in the big leagues.”
“It’s nice to face guys that are struggling, have high ERAs and are struggling, but in these experiences we learn a lot about our guys and the adjustments we need to make” Wally said.
In the top of the fourth, De La Cruz struck once more, crushing a fastball that was left up-and-in by Anderson for his second home run of the day, a 2-run shot that extended the Sea Dogs lead to 3-0.
Anderson (2-5, 4.92) lost his fifth game of the season. The right-hander finished the day with six walks and three earned runs in just 4.2 IP.
Wallace said that this kind of performance wasn’t up to his or Cody’s standards, “I thought he let his emotions get the best of him. He’s struggled the last couple times throwing the ball where he wanted to.” He also said that Cody’s mistakes got to him but that it’s a positive experience, “He’s going to learn from it, he’s going to go through this, get better, and he’s going to bounce back.”
Portland tacked on some more insurance in the top of the seventh when shortstop Derrik Gibson doubled to left off of RubberDucks reliever Jordan Cooper, which scored Heiker Meneses from third to give the Sea Dogs another run and a 4-0 lead.
Cooper gave up two hits and three earned runs in 1.1 IP. He struck out two and walked one.
The visiting team wasn’t done there. When Louis Head came on to relieve Cooper, second baseman Sean Coylewelcomed the right-hander into the game with a 3-run jack to left field that was pummeled, extending Portland’s lead even further to 7-0.
Head pitched one inning of relief, yielding one run on two hits with a walk for Akron.
“He [McMillon] has a nice little stable of arms over there” Wally said.
Giovanni Soto also threw two innings for the RubberDucks, allowing one run on three hits with a strikeout.
With his team losing 8 of their last 10 games and dropping to second place in the EL Western, Wally said that he is going to make some adjustments but that he knows its early, “We’re going to learn the most from our mistakes. We told the guys the other day that it’s never as good as you think it is as everyone tells you it is, and it’s not as bad as it feels like it is right now.”
Lastly, Wallace made it clear that believes in his team, “We’re going to stay consistent with our preparation and our play and our effort, we’ll be alright in the long run.”
The RubberDucks (40-30) have a day off Monday before they hit the road to Reading (32-33) on Tuesday night to face the Fightin Phils in a 3-game series.. RHP Toru Murata (4-2. 3.23) will take on Reading LHP Adam Loewen (0-0, 2.45).
Spencer Davies is a student at the University of Akron studying Sports Management with a minor concentrating in Mass Communication. He has interned for the Cleveland Indians minor league affiliate Akron RubberDucks, IMG College, and has shadowed Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico. He is currently an on-air sports personality at WZIP-FM and works for the Akron Beacon Journal. Follow Spencer on Twitter @SpinDavies.