It appeared nothing but a pitch count could slow down Anibal Sanchez in his Double-A debut Thursday afternoon, as the Red Sox's prized prospect combined with three other pitchers for a three-hitter in Portland's 3-0 win at Trenton.
The 21-year-old right-hander, who was 6-1 with a league-best 2.40 ERA at Class A Wilmington, struck out six in just four innings while allowing two singles and two walks. He allowed three of the four Thunder base runners to reach in the second inning, but got out of a two-out bases-loaded jam by getting a ground ball to third. He finished strong, retiring the final seven hitters he faced.
As good as Sanchez was, the Sea Dogs bullpen might have been even better. Justin Sturge (2-1) took over in the fifth and pitched three perfect innings for the win, striking out three. Justin Pearson threw a perfect eighth and when Jim Mann struck out Colin Porter to start the ninth, Portland pitchers had retired 20 consecutive batters.
Yobal Duenas doubled to end the streak, but Mann got the next two hitters to preserve the shutout.
The Sea Dogs scored single runs in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings, and were helped by errors in three of those four frames, including a pair of miscues in the sixth.
Matt DeSalvo (5-3) was the unlucky starter for Trenton, taking the loss despite allowing just one earned run and striking out eight in six innings. He was also charged with three unearned runs.
David Murphy was 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI for Portland while Jared Sandberg and Alberto Concepcion each went 2-for-4 for the Sea Dogs.