PORTLAND – There was so much for the Harrisburg Senators to enjoy in Maine on Friday night: comforting breeze, 11 hits and the near-perfect performance by their bullpen.

Plus the postgame meal was a feast. Of course, the lobster always tastes sweeter after a victory.

Harrisburg erased two early Portland leads to beat the Sea Dogs 7-5 before 6,763 at Hadlock Field.

The Sea Dogs rallied in the ninth, down 7-3 with two outs. Portland loaded the bases and Luis Exposito stroked a line drive to the right-field corner.

Two runs scored, but right fielder Jesus Valdez threw Exposito out at second base.

The Senators shook hands and headed for the lobster. Pitcher Jason Marquis provided the postgame spread, the tradition for big leaguers on rehab assignments.

Marquis, 31, coming back from surgery to remove bone chips in his right elbow, started for Harrisburg, allowing three runs and five hits over 31/3 innings. The next four relievers stifled the Sea Dogs.

“We put up some runs early off (Marquis),” said second baseman Nate Spears, who was 1 for 4 with a walk. “But they have some arms (on their staff).”

Before the ninth-inning rally against closer Cole Kimball, Portland’s offense was limited to Exposito’s two-run single in the first and Chih-Hsien Chiang’s double in the second; he eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Marquis is with his fifth major-league club, signing a two-year, $15 million contract with Washington. After starting the season 0-3, Marquis landed on the disabled list.

On Friday, Marquis retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced. He threw 65 pitches (38 strikes).

“I felt I could have gone a lot longer, which is definitely a good sign,” Marquis said while riding an exercise bike in the visiting clubhouse. “I’m happy with the way my arm felt. Now I can concentrate on making pitches.

“In a sense, it’s (like) spring training. These stats don’t count but you still want to feel good about yourself and get guys out.”

The first four Sea Dogs reached against Marquis — Yamaico Navarro single, Spears single, Ray Chang walk and Exposito’s grounder into left field.

But Harrisburg got the two runs back in the second inning with three hits (two doubles) against Portland starter Stephen Fife (6-3).

Fife was up and down, allowing five runs (four earned) over six innings. In three innings he retired all three batters.

“Kind of disappointed,” Fife said. “Lost a little aggressiveness. Got it back but then made a mistake in the sixth. Overall a ho-hum night.”

When Chiang scored in the second inning for a 3-2 lead, Harrisburg tied it again in the third on two more hits. Chris Marrero’s two-run homer to center in the sixth was the winner.

Fife wanted to go away from Marrero with a fastball but came right into his wheelhouse.

Navarro’s infield single with two outs kept Portland alive. Spears (walk) and Chang (single) followed before Exposito’s hit — and out.

Portland (50-49) saw its winning streak end at six. The Senators are 50-50.

NOTES: Fife and relievers Ryne Lawson and Ryne Miller allowed no walks. Ryan Lavarnway’s single raised his hit streak to eight games. Exposito now has a team-leading 66 RBI.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]