Thunder manager Stump Merrill said that he thought Henn waited too long to go to his changeup. Henn concurred saying, "I think I waited a little too long to go to it tonight. It's something Gary [LaVelle] and I have talked about" when discussing the use of his changeup. Merrill added that it was an "encouraging" sign that Henn was able to find his changeup in the later innings of the game.
Henn's strong outing lead the Thunder to a 8-5 win and a three game winning streak in front of 4,992 fans at Waterfront Park. Charlie Zink (1-6), who features primarily a knuckleball, took the loss giving up 8 runs in four and two-thirds innings of work. Zink came in to the game leading the Eastern League in walks with 43 and added to that total by issuing 8 free passes to the Thunder last night. The 8 walks were a career high for Zink. Zink threw around 100 pitches in four and two-thirds innings of work. Jeremy Ward recorded his first save for pitching the final one third of an inning behind Justin Kaye.
The Thunder struck first in the bottom of the second off Zink. Robinson Cano led off the inning with a double to center that was followed by a fly out to center by Jason Grove. Mitch Jones and JT Stotts followed with back to back walks to load the bases. Andy Cannizaro flew out to shallow center before Kevin Reese hit an infield single that scored Cano to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead.
Trenton added four more in the third to take a 5-0 lead on the Sea Dogs. Dioner Navarro led off the inning with a walk that was followed by a double to the right field corner off the bat of Aaron Rifkin to put Thunder runners at second and third with nobody out. Cano followed with a sac fly to right that scored Navarro and put the Thunder up 2-0. After a ground out by Jason Grove, Mitch Jones tripled to center on a ball that was badly misplayed by Portland centerfielder Eric Johnson and allowed Rifkin to score to give the Thunder a 3-0 lead. The next batter, JT Stotts, walked before Andy Cannizaro got his first hit of the year, a 2 run double down the right field line that scored Jones and Stotts. Cannizaro was thrown out at third trying to advance on the throw to the plate but not before the Thunder took a 5-0 lead.
Portland got on the board against Henn and the Thunder in the fourth , cutting the Thunder advantage to 5-2. Brett Roneberg worked a one out walk and after a fly out to right center by Sean McGowan, Jeff Bailey doubled to left to put Sea Dog runners at second and third. Mike O'Keefe followed with a double to right center that allowed Roneberg and Bailey to score and cut the Thunder lead to 5-2.
Portland put one more on the board in the fifth to cut the Trenton lead to 5-3. After the first two batters were retired on ground balls in the infield, Henn allowed a single to left to Jesus Medrano and a double to right center off the bat of Eric Johnson. Johnson's double scored Medrano and cut the Trenton led to two runs.
The Thunder came right back with three of their own in the bottom half of the fifth to reassert themselves by taking a five run lead. Robinson Cano hit a one out triple to right center and scored on a sac fly to left from the next batter, Jason Grove, to give Trenton a 6-3 lead. After three consecutive walks Jones, Stotts, and Cannizaro Kevin Reese hit an infield single between the third baseman and shortstop that scored Jones and Stotts to give the Thunder a 8-3 lead.
Portland cut the Thunder lead to 8-5 in the eighth, largely off Justin Kaye who was just activated before the game. Kaye entered the game behind Henn in the eighth inning with a runner on first and one out. Jeff Bailey, the first batter Kaye faced, doubled to left to put runners on second and third with one out. After a walk to Mike O'Keefe that loaded the bases, Kenny Perez singled to right allowing McGowan and Bailey to score. McGowan reached base off Henn when he hit a one out single to right.
Thunder right handed pitcher Hansel Izquierdo was given his outright release from the Yankees before tonight's game with Justin Kaye taking his spot on the roster. Kaye was signed as a free agent by the Yankees in May. He spent spring training with the Padres before being released at the end. He comes to Trenton after spending time in extended spring training. Izquierdo was 1-1 with three saves and a 3.29 ERA in 11 games with the Thunder.…..In another move, Craig Wilson and his injured right thumb were placed on the Disabled List and Jackson Melian came back to the Thunder from AAA Columbus. Wilson hadn't played since May 27 against Harrisburg and was hitting .238 in 11 games for Trenton at the time of his injury. In 14 games with the Clippers, Melian was hitting .300 with four doubles and two triples in addition to 4 RBI….Jarrett Gardner will be brought up by the Portland Sea Dogs from Augusta of the South Atlantic League to start in tomorrow's series finale. Gardner will be taking the place of scheduled starter Jerome Gamble who was placed on the Disabled List with a sore right forearm. Gardner will make his double AA debut against Chien-ming Wang tomorrow at 11:05 AM in the series finale…Last night was one of the rare occasions when Thunder manager Stump Merrill used the same lineup on consecutive nights. The last time it occurred was May 28th and 29th against the Binghamton Mets. …Before the Portland offensive came to life in the fifth, their top four hitters in their lineup were 0-for-21 in the series. …. The Portland Sea Dogs have spent all but three days of the entire season in last place and the Thunder started the day in second place for the first time since May 8.…Robinson Cano committed his eighth error of the year on a routine grounder off the bat of Raul Nieves in the second inning.…Tomorrow the Thunder will be going for a four game winning streak for the sixth time this year. They are 0-5 in that situation this year.….Pitching match ups for the first two games of the New Hampshire series later this week have Carlos Reyes (0-1) taking on Gustavo Chacin (4-2)on Thursday and Javier Ortiz (4-3) will face Todd Ozias (4-3) on Friday.