PORTLAND —- Jacoby Ellsbury is scheduled to return to Hadlock Field today, with Red Sox teammate Mike Cameron alongside.

But the Portland Sea Dogs had to make do without any major leaguers Wednesday night. They could have used the help.

New Britain pinch-hitter Yancarlos Ortiz singled in the winning run with two outs in the 10th inning to give the Rock Cats a 4-3 win over Portland.

The Rock Cats (8-29) stranded 12 runners but finally found a way to victory, only their second win in their last 11 games.

“You knew, sooner or later, they keep putting runners on base, something was going to happen,” Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said.

Sea Dogs starter Ryne Miller allowed one run on three hits and four walks, striking out four in five-plus innings.

Miller’s outing was more impressive because he began with a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the first inning. After yielding a double and two walks, Miller retired the next three batters on a strikeout, soft lineout to second, and another strikeout.

“He battled, pitched out of some jams and still could have gotten a win when he left,” Beyeler said.

Portland took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Nate Spears (3 for 5) crushed a one-out double off the right-field wall. Che-Hsuan Lin singled Spears in and ran to second base on the throw home.

Luis Exposito singled Lin in for his team-leading 26th RBI.

Miller lasted until he walked the leadoff batter in the sixth. Eammon Portice relieved and allowed two singles to load the bases.

The Rock Cats scored three runs on a groundout RBI, a throwing error by third baseman Yamaico Navarro and Ben Revere’s RBI single.

New Britain’s rally was then halted by two defensive plays — right fielder Ryan Kalish’s hustling, diving catch, and Navarro throwing a runner out at home. Exposito, the 210-pound catcher, blocked the plate against a fearless 144-pound Chris Gates.

Exposito later made a fine play in the eighth, picking off Steve Singleton at second base.

Portland made it 3-3 in the eighth. Anthony Rizzo singled, reached third on two wild pitches and scored on Navarro’s groundout.

Kalish doubled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and reached third on a wild pitch. But Exposito popped out in foul territory.

Closer Bryce Cox (0-2) came out for a rare third inning in the 10th. He yielded a walk and a hit-and-run single. Ryne Lawson relieved with one out.

Shortstop Jose Iglesias fielded a bouncer past the mound and threw out pinch-runner Mark Dolenc at home for the second out. But Ortiz singled to center, bringing Yangervis Solarte home for the winning run.

Former Sea Dogs reliever Chris Province pitched the 10th for New Britain for his third save.

 

NOTES: Cameron was scheduled to come to Portland Wednesday night but that decision was changed with the wet grounds at Hadlock. He is recovering from an abdominal tear. … Ellsbury is recovering from four fractured ribs. He played in Portland before a sold-out Hadlock on Tuesday and was re-evaluated in Boston on Wednesday.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or

kthomas@pressherald.com