PORTLAND — On a raw, miserable Tuesday night at Hadlock Field, the Portland Sea Dogs entered with a five-game losing streak and an 11-23 record, the worst start in franchise history.
Then Portland made three errors and fell behind 3-0 on three unearned runs.
The bleak news finally stopped.
The Sea Dogs celebrated an eight-run fourth inning and beat the Reading Phillies, 14-4.
“It doesn’t matter what the weather’s like if you score 14 runs. It always feels good,” said Sea Dogs shortstop Jon Hee.
Hee and Mitch Dening keyed the big inning with back-to-back, two-run hits. Hee went 3 for 5.
Che-Hsuan Lin knocked in four runs with two singles and a double. Alex Hassan had two hits, including a solo home run.
Stephen Fife (4-2) won his second start in a row, allowing four hits and those three unearned runs over five innings. His ERA dropped to 2.57, best among Portland starters.
But Fife looked like he might be a tough-luck loser as the Sea Dogs dropped the ball once and threw errantly twice.
“Physical errors are going to happen on a night like this,” Fife said. “You’ve just got to roll with the punches and stick with what’s working.
“Let them put the ball in play and the guys will come through (on defense).”
And they also came through on offense.
Ryan Lavarnway, who scored twice in the fourth inning, led off with a line-drive single to left, only the second hit off Austin Hyatt (5-2). Tim Federowicz walked and with one out, Jorge Padron singled to right to drive in Lavarnway.
Oscar Tejeda walked to load the bases. Hee battled with an 11-pitch at-bat, singling to left to knock in two runs and tie the game.
“Just grinding and grinding and not giving up,” said Hee, who connected on an inside fastball.
Dening then tripled to right for two runs and a 5-3 lead.
That ended the night for Hyatt, who hadn’t had an outing shorter than five innings this season. More hits and three runs followed for an 8-3 advantage.
Hassan’ third home run of the year and Lin’s two-run double added to the rout.
The Sea Dogs scored three times in the eighth inning, prompting Reading to bring in backup catcher Tim Kennelly to pitch. He needed one pitch to get a fly-ball out.
Portland reliever Seth Garrison pitched 11/3 scoreless innings, striking out three and lowering his ERA to 2.66.
NOTES: Pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, who was sent to the Sea Dogs last week to replace the promoted Tommy Hottovy, is already gone. Gonzalez was moved up to Triple-A Pawtucket and replaced by lefty Cesar Cabral, who had a 1.62 ERA at Class A Salem.
Tuesday’s announced paid attendance was 3,287, with an abundance of no-shows.
With two hits, Hassan upped his average to .374.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]