PORTLAND – By the time the rain had passed through Portland and the proverbial dust had settled, it seemed as if it would have been too late for the Portland Sea Dogs to help their cause.

Not necessarily.

Saturday night at Hadlock Field, the Sea Dogs rallied to tie the game, then took a one-run lead in the seventh on Yamaico Navarro’s solo home run.

It wasn’t enough. With two outs in the top of the eighth, Yancarlos Ortiz’s two-run homer into the right-field pavilion helped New Britain to a 7-6 win over the Sea Dogs.

“He was looking for a fastball and he got his pitch,” said Anthony Rizzo, who hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to make it 5-5. “We got two quick outs in the eighth, and one thing led to another and we couldn’t come up on it.”

Saturday’s game was delayed 1 hour, 36 minutes from the scheduled 6 p.m. start because of rain storms throughout the Portland area.

When the game began, the Rock Cats immediately jumped on Portland starter Kyle Weiland. New Britain scored five runs on seven hits in the first inning, sending 11 batters to the plate.

“The first inning, you don’t want to have that kind of start,” Rizzo said. “But I went up to (Kyle) and I was just like, ‘hey, come on, relax. Get out of this inning.’ And that’s what he did. He threw five innings, strong innings, and we just kept chipping away.”

After the first, Weiland retired the next 12 batters on 39 pitches as Portland cut New Britain’s lead to 5-3.

“I thought (Kyle) responded very well,” Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “He threw zeroes up in the next four innings. After that first inning, if you’d have said we’d get five innings out of him and that’s all he gave up, I think we’d be pretty happy with that. And that’s what happened. He found a rhythm and he just had a tough first inning.”

Portland cut New Britain’s lead to 5-3 on Nate Spears’ two-run homer in the bottom of the third and Matt Sheely’s RBI triple in the third.

Spears was waved home rounding third in the bottom of the fifth but was thrown out at the plate by Singleton, New Britain’s center fielder.

Two batters later, Rizzo made it 5-5 when he homered into the right-field pavilion off New Britain reliever Chris Province (who earned the win), one pitch after his blast toward the right-field pavilion hooked to the opposite side of the foul pole.

Two innings later, Navarro’s solo home run gave the Sea Dogs a 6-5 lead, their first of the game.

Eammon Portice, who took the loss, relieved Weiland in the sixth and allowed two hits before Ortiz’s home run, and struck out five.

New Britain reliever Billy Bullock earned the save by retiring five of the final seven batters he faced, allowing ninth-inning singles to Che-Hsuan Lin and Spears (2 for 5, two RBI).

“We put ourselves in a position to win,” Rizzo said. “That’s all we could ask for.”

NOTES: Monday’s game is a scheduled noon start, and will be the Sea Dogs’ final game before the All-Star break Tuesday and Wednesday. The two teams will meet again to start a four-game series Thursday in Connecticut. Spears hit his 10th home run of the season, while Rizzo and Navarro each came up with their eighth.

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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