PORTLAND — The situation looked strangely similar.

The Sea Dogs were trailing Friday night but mounted a rally, and up to the plate came Anthony Rizzo with the bases loaded.

On Thursday, Rizzo capped a comeback with a grand slam in a Portland win.

This time, he popped up to the catcher in foul territory.

It was that kind of night for the Sea Dogs, who rarely came up with a big hit in a 4-2 loss to the Trenton Thunder at Hadlock Field.

Chih-Hsien Chiang and Jorge Padron each went 2 for 4 and had an RBI single for the Sea Dogs.
Jeremy Kehrt (2-10) took the loss, allowing three runs in six innings.

The Thunder (74-50) controlled this game in much the same way they have cruised through the Eastern League East Division. Trenton has a 31⁄2-game lead over New Hampshire and is close to clinching a postseason berth.

Portland (59-65), conversely, is in fifth place and close to being officially eliminated.

But the Sea Dogs have been making games interesting, like Thursday’s 9-8 victory over Altoona. They tried to make it two comebacks in a row Friday night.

Padron, Ryan Khoury and Chiang began the fifth inning with singles as Portland pulled within 3-1.

Che-Hsuan Lin walked to load the bases. Jose Iglesias struck out and Rizzo came up, working the count to 2-2 before fouling out. Ray Chang then flied to center to end the inning.

“That fifth inning hurt us,” Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “We were rolling and then they shut us down. That always comes back to hurt you in a close game.”

With the Sea Dogs down 4-1 in the eighth, Chang singled, advanced on Ryan Lavarnway’s walk and scored on Padron’s two-out hit.

Closer Ryan Pope entered the game and struck out Khoury.

In the ninth, Pope walked Lin with one out. After a strikeout, Rizzo came up again. Pitching coach Tommy Phelps ran out to confer with Pope.

“You’re never comfortable until the game is over, but (Rizzo) is one to certainly put a little more fear in you,” Trenton Manager Tony Franklin said.

“We wanted to pitch away from him, make him hit it to the deep part of the ballpark, which he did.”
Rizzo put a good swing on the pitch, but flied out just shy of the warning track in center field.

NOTES: While the Red Sox scoreboard at Hadlock produced no cheers, with Toronto beating Boston 16-2, a Boston highlight was shown on the video board. In the fifth inning, former Sea Dogs infielder Yamaico Navarro entered the game and stepped up to bat for his major league debut. He singled to left, a hit that was replayed to cheers at Hadlock.

Navarro finished 1 for 3 and became the third member of the 2010 Sea Dogs to make it to the big leagues, following pitcher Felix Doubront and outfielder Ryan Kalish. …

Trenton’s third-string catcher is former Portland High standout Ryan Baker, who currently is on the inactive list. Baker, 25, played the first half of the season in Class A Tampa and has played one game for Trenton this season. …

Friday’s paid attendance was 7,368.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]