PORTLAND — Chris Balcom-Miller put in his finest pitching performance with the Portland Sea Dogs on Monday night.
But in this season of loss after loss, it happened again.
Balcom-Miller exited after seven innings with a 1-0 lead over the Harrisburg Senators.
But reliever Blake Maxwell could not close it. His own throwing error began a four-run Senators rally, capped by Tim Pahuta’s three-run homer.
The Sea Dogs lost 4-1 before 6,372 at Hadlock Field. It was their fifth straight defeat as Portland dropped to an Eastern League-worst 53-75.
Harrisburg remained the best team in the league with a 71-57 mark.
For seven innings, Balcom-Miller was locked in a duel with Harrisburg’s Tanner Roark.
Balcom-Miller, 22, obtained from Colorado last year in the Manny Delcarmen trade, finished seven innings for the first time this year, allowing no runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out seven.
“Good sinker. His slider was working and his change-up got people out,” catcher Jeff Howell said. “He worked out of some jams and that allowed him to go deep in the game.”
Balcom-Miller got a scare when he collided with first baseman Jon Hee during a bunt in the fifth inning. After being checked by the trainer, he stayed in.
Roark, 24, was in the Rangers organization until he was dealt to the Nationals in the Christian Guzman trade-deadline deal last year.
Roark stymied the Sea Dogs with a no-hitter for 52/3 innings.
“Two-seamer, cutter, curveball, change-up – he threw everything,” said Sea Dogs third baseman Ryan Khoury.
Khoury came up for the third time in the game.
He broke up the no-hitter with a double to left.
Jeremy Hazelbaker followed and broke up the shutout with an RBI, ground-rule double down the left-field line.
In the seventh, Balcom-Miller gave up a leadoff double and a walk. With two outs and runners on first and third, he got Erik Komatsu to pop up on a change-up.
Maxwell (3-4), who leads the team with 16 saves, was summoned in the eighth, with the plan for him to go two innings.
“We had our best in there with a 1-0 lead,” Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. “He’s been one of the most consistent, but it didn’t work out.”
Josh Johnson led off with a grounder to Maxwell but his wild throw put Johnson on second base.
After a sacrifice bunt, Johnson scored on a single.
Then came a walk, strikeout and Pahuta’s blast to right field.
NOTES: Washington Nationals mega-prospect Bryce Harper traveled with the Senators, although he is on the disabled list. He signed a few autographs before and after the game, but his access was limited by the Sea Dogs security, concerned about the crowd growing too large. Maine Olympian Julia Clukey was on hand signing autographs, as well as throwing out the first pitch. The National Anthem was performed superbly by the young members of the Suzuki Violin Studio of Falmouth. … Tonight’s 6 p.m. game features fireworks afterward. New Sea Dogs starter Matt Rusch, signed out of the independent leagues, will make his Hadlock debut. Will Middlebrooks got his first two Triple-A hits with Pawtucket Monday night.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org