BOWIE, Md. — Sea Dogs pitcher Alex Wilson returned to the rotation Wednesday against Bowie and managed to preserve an early lead despite laboring through hot, humid weather in the 90s.

Portland’s potent offense was also able to offset some shaky moments by the bullpen for an 8-6 victory before an announced 1,491 at Prince George’s Stadium. Luis Exposito and Anthony Rizzo each homered for the Sea Dogs, who moved into fourth place in the Eastern Division with Binghamton’s loss to Harrisburg. Portland will go for the series sweep today before heading to Richmond.

“The guys did a nice job,” Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “We grinded it out with some good at-bats, moved the ball around pretty well and they got some big hits to drive some runs in. We put some pressure on them. (Wilson) had to work hard to get his outs. These guys are not used to pitching in this hot weather.” 

Wilson, who had not pitched since Aug. 1 after being placed on the disabled list for undisclosed reasons, allowed four runs with nine hits and two walks over 4 2⁄3 innings in a no-decision. The Sea Dogs managed 11 hits against four pitchers, and Bryce Cox picked up his 12th save.

Portland (56-60) got an early 2-0 lead on Exposito’s ninth home run of the season off Pedro Viola. It was a towering shot over the left-field fence with two outs in the first inning. Exposito is third in the Eastern League with 82 RBI.

Bowie (63-53) answered in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run home run by Ryan Adams – his 11th of the year.

The Sea Dogs took command in the third after Che-Hsuan Lin led off the inning with a double, stole third and scored on a fielder’s choice by Ray Chang. After Exposito walked, Rizzo followed with another two-run home run to increase the lead 5-2. One week after being named the Eastern League Player-of-the-Week when he batted .444 with three home runs in six games, Rizzo has continued to dominate opposing pitchers and has 15 home runs.

“I’m just trusting myself,” Rizzo said. “I’m using my legs a lot more and everything is starting to click.”

Wilson allowed the first three batters he faced in the fifth to reach base on a walk and two singles. Joe Mahoney then cut the lead to 5-4 with a two-run single to right field that ended Wilson’s night.

Ryan Khoury responded for the Sea Dogs with an RBI triple in the sixth, and then scored on a double by Chih-Hsien Chiang, who was thrown out at third. 

Ryan Reynoso relieved Wilson and later allowed a two-run home run in the seventh to Joel Guzman, who leads the league with 26, that cut the score to 7-6. However, Rizzo added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

“We did the same thing today that we did (Tuesday) and came out victorious,” Exposito said. “I think the pitchers did a good job and kept us in the game.”

NOTES: The Sea Dogs placed Jeremy Kehrt on the temporary inactive list to make room for Wilson.