PORTLAND – The Portland Sea Dogs had a chance to jump into a tie for first place in the Eastern League East Division.

But the Binghamton Mets got the big hits and beat Portland 7-5 Monday night at chilly Hadlock Field.

The Mets, who lead the league in offense, enjoyed a four-run sixth inning against reliever Santo Luis (1-1) to take the lead for good. Binghamton (19-12) is tied with New Hampshire for first place, a game ahead of the Sea Dogs (17-12).

“They swing the bats well and are tough outs,” Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler said.

Sea Dogs shortstop Jose Iglesias paced Portland with a 4-for-4 night with a double and RBI, upping his average to .308.

Casey Kelly (3.48 ERA) made his sixth start for the Sea Dogs and showed a little of everything, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks over five innings. He also struck out seven.

Kelly hit the corners early, retiring the first two batters on called third strikes.

But in the second inning, Zach Lutz led off with a home run over the left-field wall. A walk and two singles brought in another run.

Two doubles in the third inning scored another run.

“They came out swinging but I settled down after that,” Kelly said.

Kelly retired eight of the last nine batters, four by strikeout.

“He stumbled a little bit in the second and third inning,” Portland pitching coach Bob Kipper said. “But something I’ve always liked about Casey Kelly is how he responds to challenges. His fourth and fifth innings were his best. He didn’t allow himself to get rattled.

“He did a lot of good things. He had good use of both his change and curve.”

Kelly could have picked up his first win as the Sea Dogs led 4-3 after five innings.

Chih-Hsien Chiang’s sacrifice fly scored Portland’s first run in the second inning.

The Sea Dogs tallied three in the fifth, on Ryan Kalish’s RBI single and sacrifice flies by Luis Exposito and Iglesias.

Iglesias is batting .265 (19 for 52) in his last 13 games. Center fielder Che-Hsuan Lin, 2 for 3 Monday, is hitting .340 (16-47) in his last 12 games.

In the sixth, the Mets got to Luis for four runs on four hits and a hit-batter.

Tommy Hottovy relieved Luis and pitched three scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.66.

 

NOTES: First-base prospect Anthony Rizzo reported to Portland Monday night, albeit a little late because of flight delays. Rizzo, promoted from advanced Class A Salem, was scheduled to be in the lineup Monday but did not arrive until after the game began. Rizzo, 20, is considered by Baseball America to be Boston’s eighth-best prospect. In 29 games with Salem this year, Rizzo batted .248 with 12 doubles, five homers and 20 RBI. … Rizzo took a roster spot vacated by infielder Ray Chang, who is on the temporary inactive list to tend to personal business. …

Tonight’s game features the first bobblehead giveaway of the season. The first 1,000 fans will receive a Daisuke Matsuzaka doll. The gates open at 4:30 p.m. … Aided by several school groups, Monday’s paid attendance was 5,039. The cold, windy weather chased many of them home early.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

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