Final score: New Hampshire 7, Trenton 6 - 10 innings
Synopsis: Even with Kevin Mahoney playing 5 or 6 feet in front of the bag with the tying run on third and two outs, Ryan Goins' bunt was perfect enough to push across the game-winning run and send the Thunder to their second extra-inning defeat in as many days.
The bunt negated back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the ninth from Gustavo Molina and Mahoney that tied what had been a 6-4 game.
Those longballs, plus a pair of runs in the eighth, helped Trenton erase the four-run cushion New Hampshire secured on Mark Sobolewski's grand slam in the sixth inning. The slam happened on the first pitch, after Claiborne and the Thunder had chosen to intentionally walk Mike McDade -- who had homered earlier -- to load the bases and set up a potential double play.
Bright spots: Aside from the four runs over the final two innings to force extras? Cody Johnson had his fifth consecutive game two-hit game, pushing his average to .303, his on-base percentage to .392 and his slugging percentage to .592. The latest he was over .300 in 2011 was April 14.
Luke Murton had a neat moment early in the game. He hit a ball that looked like a home run but was called foul, then hit his first triple since Opening Day of 2011 on the next pitch.
Even with the loss, the team was happy with the way it responded after getting chewed out by manager Tony Franklin the night before.
"We played our butts off," Mahoney said. "Even (Friday) we played our butts off. It's just unfortunate it came down to one play -- again. This past two days hurt a lot, especially since they were one-run games. This one hurt a lot, too, because it's not very often you're going to lose on a bunt like that. It doesn't happen very often."
"I think they battled hard," Franklin said, "that's all you can really ask. There's one thing that I do know about this club so far, is that they do bounce back. We've had some very difficult losses, some very tough losses. These are losses that are somewhat demoralizing, they can take your spirit, but they don't seem to let that happen to them. They bounce back and they come the next day prepared to play."
Back to Florida: David Adams and Zoilo Almonte will head back to Tampa today to continue their rehab a stiff neck and a strained groin, respectively, in extended spring training games.
Picks to click:
Here is my gamer
from Saturday night.