Pleffner Drives in Four, Sens Fall 5-4
A career day from Shawn Pleffner was not enough to carry the Harrisburg Senators as they dropped a 5-4 contest to the Portland Sea Dogs on Tuesday night at FNB Field before 2,787 fans. The loss ended the Senators’ winning streak at seven games.
Portland struck first as Senators’ starter Reynaldo Lopez allowed two hits, two walks, and two sacrifice flies in the opening frame to give the Sea Dogs a 2-0 lead. Sean Coyle tacked on another run for the Sea Dogs with a towering home run that barely reached the Ollie’s Cheap Seats in left field.
But Harrisburg (22-21) responded as a Neftali Soto single and two walks loaded the bases for Pleffner. The 26-year-old first baseman delivered with a sharp single into right field that scored two and left the Senators trailing by a lone run.
The Sea Dogs regained the three-run cushion in the sixth inning as they plated two without the benefit of a base hit. A lead-off walk, throwing error, sacrifice fly, and fielder’s choice did the damage and ended Lopez’ night after 5.1 innings.
“I didn’t think he had much feel,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “His command just wasn’t there like it was last start.”
Pleffner once again pulled the Senators within a run in the bottom of the seventh as he hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot, onto the boardwalk in left-center field. But 5-4 was the closest the Senators would get as the Portland bullpen preserved the lead and victory.
Pleffner went 2-for-3 with a walk and a career-high four runs batted in. In the last six games, the first baseman has now gone 11-for-24 and raised his batting average 51 points to .201.
“I changed my stance a little bit. Something more upright and relaxed,” Pleffner said about the turnaround. “You have to stay positive. It’s a game of failure and you have to just keep moving forward.”
“He kept us in the ball game with two swings,” LeCroy said. “Hopefully he can keep doing it.”
The only other Senator with a multi-hit night was third baseman Stephen Perez who recorded a single and double in four trips to the plate.
Lopez (1-4) scattered four hits, walked five, and struck out four while collaring the loss. Andrew Robinson was stellar in relief as he threw 2.2 scoreless innings allowing one hit while striking out two.
The third game of the four game set between the Senators and Sea Dogs will be Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. as Harrisburg sends Lucas Giolito to the mound versus Justin Haley for Portland.