Rafael Perez joins the bullpen…’Dogs at Binghamton

Portland opens up a four-game weekend series on Friday night against the Binghamton Mets from NYSEG Stadium…Portland is 5-5 during a 17-game stretch against Binghamton and New Hampshire.

Coverage begins at 6:45 PM on the U.S. Cellular Sea Dogs Radio Network

Portland Lineup: Wilkerson 8, Bogaerts 6, Thomas 7, Shaw 3, Almanzar 5, Spring 2, Natoli 4, Vitek DH, Johnson 9, Britton LHP

Binghamton Lineup: Muno 4, Rodriguez 5, Puello 9, Dykstra DH, Vaughn 7, Ceciliani 8, Forsythe 2, Lucas 3, Tovar 6, Verrett RHP

Pre-Game Interview: Nick Natoli

Rafael Perez was signed by the Red Sox as a minor league free agent and assigned to Portland

Rafael Perez was signed by the Red Sox as a minor league free agent and assigned to Portland

THAT WAS ACT 1: The Sea Dogs and Binghamton Mets played a nine-inning, 3 hour and 57 minute contest on Friday, and resume their four-game series on Saturday night at NYSEG Stadium…Portland has won four straight and holds a three-game lead over the Binghamton Mets for the top spot in the Eastern Division…Left-hander Drake Britton is 0-4, 5.59 ERA in four career starts against the Mets…Righty Logan Verrett is one of two 6-game winners in the Eastern League.

ABOUT THE NEW GUY: Perez was released by the Minnesota Twins earlier this week and signed by the Boston Red Sox as a minor league free agent…The lefty was 1-0, 2.25 ERA (ER/4.0 IP) in 4 games with Triple-A Rochester (International League)…Perez has 338 games in the Major Leagues with the Cleveland Indians from 2006-12, going 21-12, 3.64 ERA (133 ER/329.0 IP) in 338 games, all as a reliever…Perez missed most of last season due to shoulder surgery, appearing in just 8 games with Cleveland…Perez pitched with the Akron Aeros in 2005-06, 12, and earned the win (beat Charlie Zink) in Game 2 of the E.L.C.S versus Portland in 2005 at Hadlock Field.

JUST KEPT FIGHTING: Portland had leads of 5-0 and 7-2 but need two runs in the ninth inning to beat the Binghamton Mets 10-9 in the series opener…Michael Almanzar hit a first-inning, inside-the-park grand slam, the 7th inside the park homer in team history and the second that was a grand slam…Nick Natoli had a career-high five hits, finishing 5-for-5, with 2 RBI, including the game-winning RBI…Trailing 8-3, Binghamton scored four times in the seventh inning off Miguel CelestinoKeith Couch (3-1) allowed the tying run to score but earn the win…Brock Huntzinger allowed a run in the ninth but earned his 11th save.

ALMANZAR IN THE MEDIA GUIDE: Almanzar is the 7th player in franchise history to hit an inside-the-park homer, the third as a Red Sox affiliate…Infielder Heiker Meneses hit an inside-the-park homer on April 16th, ironically in Binghamton…Current Red Sox Roving Instructor George Lombard, hit an inside-the-park grand slam on June 24, 2004 at Erie…INSIDE THE PARK HOMERS AS A MARLINS AFFILIATE: Victor Rodriguez (May 11, 1997 vs. Bowie), Hayward Cook (April 30, 1998 vs. Binghamton), Pablo Ozuna (August 22, 2000 vs. New Haven) and Quincy Foster (September 1, 2000 vs. Norwich).

HITTING THE CHARTS: Natoli’s 5-hit game was the 13th in franchise history, the last by Bryce Brentz on May 31, 2012 at Harrisburg…Last night was the longest 9-inning game for Portland since 3 hours and 44 minutes on May 25, 2012 vs. New Britain.

YOU LEFT THIS OUT: In addition to Almanzar’s inside-the-park homer, he led off the ninth inning with a triple off the right-fielder’s glove and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch…Portland is leading the Eastern League with 24 triples.

BEEN SAVING THE DAY: Brock Huntzinger made it 11-for-12 in save chances with his save in yesterday’s game…Huntzinger

WHAT’S ON DECK: The Sea Dogs and Binghamton Mets continue their four-game series tomorrow night at NYSEG Stadium, game time is 6:35…Portland has won six of 10 from the B-Mets this season…The ‘Dogs are 6-5 during a 17-game stretch against New Hampshire and Binghamton.

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