PORTLAND — When times are tough, teams lose games in unusual ways.

The Portland Sea Dogs lost Friday night on a two-out RBI bunt. Brandon Roberts’ bunt single broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning as the New Britain Rock Cats beat Portland 3-2 before 5,608 at Hadlock Field.

It marked the fourth straight loss for Portland (23-23), while New Britain (14-33) continues to rebound from a terrible start to the season.

In the top of the seventh, the left-handed hitting Roberts faced Sea Dogs lefty reliever Mitch Herold (0-1) with two outs and runners on first and third.

Herold threw a first-pitch strike and Roberts, who is batting .229, showed no signs of bunting.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit at the plate, trying to find my swing. I knew I had to try something,” Roberts said. “I figured if I got it down in a good spot I had a good chance of beating it out, and that’s what happened.”

Roberts bunted to the third-base side. Herold fielded it and threw to first, but Roberts beat the throw as a run scored.

Roberts, 25, is in his fourth season with New Britain. His bunting ability is no secret.

“You can’t say we weren’t looking for it, but he made a nice bunt,” Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said.

“We just can’t get over the hump right now. We’re getting guys on. We’re just not getting that big hit.”

The Sea Dogs threatened to tie it in the ninth. Jose Iglesias, batting .308 after a 2-for-4 night, reached with a one-out single to center and stole second.

Former Sea Dogs reliever Chris Province came in and walked Juan Apodaca, struck out Chih-Hsien Chiang and walked pinch-hitter Yamaico Navarro to load the bases.

Nate Spears, who leads the Eastern League in walks (32), stepped to the plate and grounded out to second base on a 0-1 pitch.

“Good battle,” Beyeler told his players. “Get some sleep.”

The Sea Dogs played in Reading, Pa., Thursday night and did not return to Portland until 7:30 Friday morning.

Portland fell behind quickly when Sea Dogs starter Robert Coello issued a two-out walk in the first inning and Erik Lis followed with a two-run homer into the right-field bullpen.

Those were all the runs Coello allowed in 4 2/3 innings.

The Sea Dogs slowly came back. Che-Hsuan Lin, who went 3 for 3, reached on a walk in the fourth. Ryan Kalish, playing his first game since injuring his forearm and hip last Saturday, singled to right, sending Lin to third base. Lin scored on Ray Chang’s grounder to shortstop.

Lin singled in the sixth and eventually scored on Iglesias’ single, tying the game, 2-2.

 

NOTES: After Thursday’s suspended game at Reading, the Sea Dogs made some adjustments to next weekend’s home schedule. Before Friday’s 7 p.m. game with Reading, the suspended game will resume in the sixth inning at 6 p.m. Next Saturday’s game with Reading already had been changed to a 5 p.m. doubleheader because of a previous rainout.

 

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

[email protected]