NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – The Portland Sea Dogs had their chances, so Manager Arnie Beyeler had no complaints despite a losing streak that grew to five games Friday night.

The Sea Dogs have had a knack for delivering the big hit in the late innings against the last-place New Britain Rock Cats, but this time the ball didn’t bounce their way.

A hard shot by Luis Exposito with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning failed get through the infield, and the Sea Dogs went quietly against the Rock Cats’ bullpen in a 2-1 loss before 7,491 at New Britain Stadium.

New Britain (20-53) defeated Portland (36-36) for the first time at home in seven tries.

“We’ve been up and down all year, not real consistent, and we’re playing just good enough to get beat right now,” Beyeler said. “We’re getting some opportunities, we’re not coming through when we get them and we’re only getting one or two a night.

“It was a good ballgame. If we’re in ballgames like that every night, we’ll be OK.”

New Britain starter Kyle Gibson (4-3) went six scoreless innings, yielding just four singles and a walk while striking out five, but he was the victim of an elevated pitch count (92).

With 7-foot-1 right-hander Loek Van Mil on in relief in the seventh, Chih-Hsien Chiang tucked a leadoff double inside the third-base line. Chiang reached third with two down, and Che-Hsuan Lin raked an RBI double to left. Nate Spears’ infield hit and a walk to Ray Chang filled the bases.

With the Rock Cats’ bullpen having blown 14 of its 22 save opportunities, Beyeler sensed a comeback, but third baseman Yancarlos Ortiz handled Exposito’s grounder and three runners were stranded.

“We’ve come back here and won some games, and it kind of looked like it was going to happen again,” Beyeler said. “(Exposito) hit the ball hard but hit it right at their third baseman and that’s all you can ask for.

“We’ll take bases loaded with him up at the plate any time.”

Left-hander Tony Davis, given his first save opportunity since his promotion from Class A on June 15, entered in the eighth and set down three straight, two on strikes. He also retired the side in order in the ninth.

“He got the ball and went. He got the ball and attacked the zone,” Rock Cats Manager Jeff Smith said. “He picked up this ballclub in a big way.”

Gibson and Portland starter Kyle Weiland set the tone with sharp efforts. Weiland (3-5) left with two outs in the seventh after issuing his only two walks. He allowed just four hits and struck out seven.

“Gibson threw a pretty good ballgame, as did Weiland,” Beyeler said. “You could tell right out of the chute it was going to be a pretty low-scoring ballgame the way those guys were going at it.”

Weiland needed just 17 pitches to get through the first two innings, and Gibson struck out five through the first three.