– ALLEN LESSELS

Special to the Press Herald

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The wait was worth it.

The Portland Sea Dogs graciously accepted everything the New Hampshire Fisher Cats were handing out on Christmas in July night — including a seven-run fifth inning — on the way to a rain-delayed 11-2 win at Merchantsauto.com Stadium on Monday night.

The game started 2 hours and 4 minutes late because of heavy storms.

The Fisher Cats wasted no time getting into a giving mode once the game started.

Che-Hsuan Lin and Yamaico Navarro opened the game with singles, and Fisher Cats starter Randy Boone walked Ray Chang.

Boone struck out Luis Exposito and Anthony Rizzo, then hit designated hitter Ryan Lavarnway with a pitch to force Lin home with the first run.

That set the tone for the night, but even bigger gifts were yet to come.

This about sums it up: Lavarnway was perfect at the plate and collected two RBI, both when he was hit by pitches. He also walked and singled.

The Sea Dogs won their third straight game for the first time since June 10. They’ll try to make it four straight for the second time this year — and first since early May — in the middle game of the three-game series tonight.

Portland improved to 3-6 against New Hampshire and 47-48 overall.

Sea Dogs righty Kyle Weiland, who lost his first four decisions, evened his record at 5-5. He hit three batters but allowed only one run and five hits. He walked one and struck out eight.

The only runner who scored off Weiland — fittingly, on an odd night — was Eric Thames, who reached when he was hit by a pitch in the fourth.

The Fisher Cats came into the game in first place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division. They fell a half game behind Trenton, which beat Richmond, 6-0.

The Sea Dogs, thanks to more help from Fisher Cats pitchers, broke things open with seven runs in the top of the fifth.

Four of the first five batters in the inning walked, giving Portland a 2-1 lead. The bases were still loaded when Adrian Martin hit Lavarnway with a pitch to make it 3-1.

Jorge Padron followed with a single to left field, driving home one run. Ryan Khoury doubled to left to score two more.

Danny Farquhar, New Hampshire’s third pitcher of the inning, was greeted by Chih-Hsien Chiang’s RBI single.

Portland added three more runs in the eighth with the help of a walk, a hit batsman and three hits, including Navarro’s two-run single.

NOTES: Lin had three singles for the Sea Dogs. Navarro and Padron each had a pair of hits. … Five Fisher Cats pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts and seven walks. … Each team had three batters hit.