PORTLAND — New Hampshire third baseman Shawn Bowman is an Eastern League All-Star and one of the league’s top sluggers.

He knows that his New Hampshire Fisher Cats team just scored six runs off Sea Dogs starter Casey Kelly, in New Hampshire’s 6-5 win Tuesday night before a crowd of 5,724 at Hadlock Field.

But Bowman also knows why the Boston Red Sox are so high on Kelly.

“He’s got good stuff. There’s no doubt about that,” said Bowman, who homered off Kelly, as well as struck out. “A couple breaks didn’t go his way.”

Bowman’s three-run homer in the fifth erased a 3-2 Portland lead, sending the Sea Dogs (41-43) to their fourth straight loss.

Both Chih-Hsian Chiang and Nate Spears had two-run hits for Portland.

Kelly, 20, in his first full pro season as a pitcher, continued his year of development, throwing strikes, but yielding hits.

New Hampshire began the game with an interesting sequence: double, strikeout, double, strikeout, double, strikeout.

Kelly (1-4) threw 16 of his 20 pitches in the first inning for strikes, but trailed 2-0.

One of those doubles was stroked by Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Travis Snider, who is on a rehab assignment, recovering from a sprained right wrist. He looked fine on Tuesday, going 4 for 5 with three doubles.

After the first inning, Kelly produced three scoreless innings.

But with two outs in the fifth, he yielded a single to center by Snider, and then a walk to Eric Thames. Still, Kelly got ahead of Bowman 0-2.

Kelly threw a hanging curveball. Bowman swatted it over the wall in left-center for a three-run homer and a 5-3 lead.

“He struck me out the last time with a curveball and had just thrown two fastballs for strikes,” Bowman said. “I had a feeling he was going back to the curve, and he hung it.

“He doesn’t hang that pitch to me, he only gives up two runs.”

Kelly got a flyout to start the sixth and was ahead of Jonathan Diaz 0-2, but then walked him. Kelly was pulled. Diaz eventually scored on a sacrifice fly for a 6-3 New Hampshire lead, while upping Kelly’s ERA to 5.45.

Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler isn’t worried about the numbers.

“He’s doing very well,” Beyeler said. “He’s one of the youngest pitchers in this league and, like tonight, he has his ups and downs. He threw one bad pitch for most of the night and Bowman hit it out of the ballpark. But he pitched a pretty good ballgame, pounded the zone and went after guys.”

Portland got its first three runs in the first inning, on Luis Exposito’s RBI single, and Chiang’s two-run double.

Portland rallied in the seventh on a Ray Chang single and Chiang’s second double. After two strikeouts and a walk to load the bases, Spears stepped up.

He worked the count full, fouled off a pitch and then laced a single to left-center, scoring two, closing to 6-5. But that was all for the Sea Dogs, who were outhit, 10-6.

 

NOTES: Portland got scoreless relief from Eammon Portice (2 1/3 innings) and Bryce Cox (11/3).

 

Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: [email protected]