TRENTON, N.J. – The Trenton Thunder offense came alive when it counted Friday night.

A tie game through five innings turned into a batting exhibition for the Thunder, who pulled away to a 9-1 victory against the Portland Sea Dogs.

Reid Gorecki gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead in the sixth with a single off reliever Ryne Lawson to score Brandon Laird.

In the seventh, the Thunder broke the game open by batting around and tacking on four runs to make it 6-1.

Lawson gave up five runs, four earned, on five hits and two walks in three innings for the loss.

Laird added a three-run homer off Jason Rice over the left-center field wall to make it 9-1 in the eighth.

“Our defense helped them out a little bit,” said Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler. “We didn’t play very good defense there to open the game up and made our pitchers throw some extra pitches.

“They swung the bat. They got a few big hits early in the game, but they won in the seventh and eighth innings.”

Casey Kelly started for the Sea Dogs but was pulled after 31/3 innings because of a pitch count. He threw 53 pitches, 32 strikes, and allowed one run on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

“He did fine,” Beyeler said. “He threw the ball. They swung the bats to get the double and get the run in, but he did a nice job.

“He was aggressive down in the zone with his stuff. He threw three quality pitches for strikes and worked the bottom half of the zone pretty well.”

The Sea Dogs managed four hits, two of them off starting pitcher D.J. Mitchell, who went six innings for the win.

The Sea Dogs managed no extra-base hits in the game. Juan Apodaca, Ray Chang, Lars Anderson and Jason Place each had a single.

The Sea Dogs had runners in scoring position in three innings. After Mitchell walked the bases loaded with one out in the first, Anderson hit a sacrifice fly to give the Sea Dogs a 1-0 lead, but Chang grounded out to end the inning.

Anderson walked and Chang had a single to start the seventh, but after a Jose Iglesias lineout, Chih-Hsien Chang grounded into a double play to end the threat.

The Sea Dogs got two runners on with one out in the ninth, but Chang flew out and Iglesias grounded out to end the game.

The series will continue at 1:05 p.m. today as Felix Doubront takes the mound for the Sea Dogs against a fellow left-hander, Jeremy Bleich of the Thunder.