PORTLAND – When the Baltimore Orioles chose pitcher Adam Loewen with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2002 major league draft, it was considered the start of Baltimore’s rebuilding program.

The Orioles are still rebuilding, and Loewen is no longer pitching.

But Loewen is on a comeback of sorts, and he may enjoy major league success before Baltimore.

Now an outfielder in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, Loewen clocked a two-run homer to right field in the eighth inning, giving the New Hampshire Fisher Cats a 5-3 win over the Portland Sea Dogs Monday night, before a sold-out Hadlock Field crowd of 7,368.

“It was a fastball in,” Loewen said of the pitch he clobbered. “They hadn’t thrown me a pitch in all night. I knew they were going to try to get me out in there.”

Loewen, 26, knows how pitchers think. He signed a $4 million major league contract when he was 19 years old. Loewen worked through the Orioles system, pitching for Bowie at Hadlock Field in 2006, when he threw seven shutout innings.

From parts of 2006 through 2008, he made 29 major-league starts (8-8, 5.38), but was hampered by arm trouble.

Facing surgery if he was to continue pitching, Loewen gave up the mound in July 2008 and announced his intentions to play the outfield. Loewen, 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, had been both a strong pitcher and hitter at Chipola Junior College in Florida.

The Orioles initially backed the move, but then let Loewen go after the season. He signed with the Blue Jays. At Class A Dunedin in 2009, Loewen batted .236 with four home runs.

With New Hampshire, Loewen is batting .278 with 10 homers.

“I feel more comfortable,” Loewen said. “It feels natural to me now.”

Loewen went 3 for 4, with a single and double. He scored three runs.

“He’s a big, strong kid and can hit the ball,” Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “He’s been doing a nice job, a (Rick) Ankiel kind of story.”

Loewen and David Cooper (3 for 4, also a two-run homer to right) did the damage for the Fisher Cats.

New Hampshire (50-34) led 1-0, when Portland (41-42) scored twice in the second, on Luis Exposito’s sixth homer, to center, and Matt Sheely’s RBI single.

Loewen doubled in the fourth, followed by Cooper’s blast.

Sea Dogs starter Kyle Weiland (3.99 ERA) lasted six innings. He gave up three runs, five hits and three walks. He hit a batter and struck out five.

Chih-Hsien Chiang’s sacrifice fly to right tied it in the sixth.

Ryne Miller (2-6) relieved Weiland and pitched a scoreless seventh. But he gave up a walk in the eighth, setting up Loewen’s winning homer.

“We didn’t help ourselves with all the walks,” Beyeler said.

 

NOTES: The Sea Dogs finally have a full roster with the addition of utility infielder Luis Segovia from advanced Class A Salem. … Infielder/outfielder Ryan Khoury is out for a few games with a strained groin muscle. … A trio of former Sea Dogs pitchers moved on Monday: Blake Maxwell was promoted from Salem to Triple-A Pawtucket, replacing Felix Doubront, who replaced the injured Clay Buchholz in Boston.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]