MANCHESTER, N.H. — Portland Sea Dogs starting pitcher Chris Balcom-Miller gave third baseman Will Middlebrooks a heads-up before Thursday night’s game.

“I told him to expect a lot of ground balls,” Balcom-Miller said.

Then Balcom-Miller went out and kept the ball low and induced a bunch of ground balls. Middlebrooks turned more than his share of them into outs and the Sea Dogs were on their way to a 6-2 victory against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

The Sea Dogs improved to 39-58. The Fisher Cats fell to 54-43 and have lost five of their last six games.

Middlebrooks had seven assists and a couple of putouts, and also contributed a couple of doubles at the plate.

“We kind of made a joke about it in the fifth inning and he was, ‘C’mon,’ ” Balcom-Miller said. “He was definitely busy.”

Balcom-Miller also had a nice night.

He gave up hits to the first two batters he faced, then helped his own cause by starting a pitcher-to-third-to-first double play.

He went a season-high 62/3 innings, and allowed seven hits and no runs. He struck out five and walked none.

“It was one of his best games,” said Portland Manager Kevin Boles. “He’s had a couple like that. He didn’t make mistakes up in the zone. He was able to change speeds and he slowed things down. He didn’t panic. This is a club that can speed things up real quick and he didn’t allow that to happen.”

The Sea Dogs broke in front 3-0 with a run in the second and a pair in the third, and Middlebrooks was in the middle of it all.

He led off the second with a double, went to third on a passed ball and scored on Jon Hee’s ground single through the middle.

Middlebrooks delivered his second double of the night in the third to knock in Jeremy Hazelbaker, who singled. Chih-Hsien Chiang, who had singled, scored the other run on a Tim Federowicz fielder’s choice.

Chiang made it 4-0 in the fifth with a solo home run, his 17th of the season, to center field.

Mitch Dening followed suit with his second homer in two games and fifth of the season, with one out in the sixth and it was up to 5-0.

Dening’s walk-off homer in the ninth Wednesday finished off Binghamton, 10-9.

Ryan Dent doubled to knock in Federowicz, who also doubled, in the eighth for another Sea Dog run.

Balcom-Miller struck out the first two Fisher Cats in the seventh inning, then gave up a single to Mark Sobolewski. He threw two balls to Callix Crabbe and pitching coach Bob Kipper visited the mound.

“He told me to slow down and said he knew I wanted to get out of the inning,” Balcom-Miller said. “He said to let him hit it.”

Balcom-Miller got a ground ball out of Crabbe but it came back up the middle and went off the pitcher’s glove for a single.

That was all for Balcom-Miller.

Caleb Clay came on and struck out Jonathan Diaz to end the inning.

He threw a 1-2-3 eighth and then gave up a two-run homer to Yan Gomes in the ninth for New Hampshire’s only runs.