PORTLAND — Alex Wilson was promoted and Stephen Fife traded, but the Portland Sea Dogs’ starting pitching has held its own.

Still, victories are becoming more and more elusive.

Matt Rusch allowed four hits over six innings and took the loss Tuesday night in Harrisburg’s 4-1 victory against Portland before a sold-out crowd of 7,368 at Hadlock Field.

It was the sixth straight loss for the Sea Dogs (53-76), equaling their longest of the season.

Portland Manager Kevin Boles has tried shaking up the lineup to jump-start the Sea Dogs. But the team got only five hits.

“We’re going to tinker with this lineup. We’ve got to do some different things,” Boles said. “We’ve got to have more productive (at-bats).”

Meanwhile, Harrisburg (72-57) is humming along with the best record in the Eastern League. The Senators feature numerous quality players, some of whom have recently jumped on board.

Harrisburg starter Danny Rosenbaum was promoted from Class A this month and already is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA. The left-hander handcuffed Portland over seven innings, allowing one run on four hits and a walk. He struck out eight and threw only 91 pitches.

“The guys needed to show a little more patience,” Boles said. “We’re a club that needs to work counts and see a lot of pitches.”

Portland countered with Rusch (0-2), who was recently signed by the Red Sox from the Quebec Capitales of the independent Can-Am League.

Previously, Rusch, 28, pitched five years in the Detroit organization.

He struck out three and walked one Tuesday.

Rusch enjoyed five fine innings and one hiccup.

With two outs in the second, Rusch gave up three straight hits — single, double and Adam Fox’s two-run single — two of his four RBI.

The way Rosenbaum was pitching, that was enough.

First baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez (2 for 4) got the Sea Dogs their only run.

He led off the second with a double to left, advanced on Mark Wagner’s fly to right and scored on a wild pitch.

After Rodriguez’s hit, Rosenbaum retired 15 of the next 16 batters.

Adam Fox of Harrisburg hit a two-run homer off reliever Michael Lee in the seventh.

NOTES: It’s not every day a $12 million pitcher takes the Hadlock mound, but Harrisburg left-hander Oliver Perez will start today’s noon game. Perez, 30, signed a three-year, $36 million contract with the Mets in 2009. After two struggling years (combined 6.81 ERA), Perez was released in spring training and quickly signed a minor league contract with the Nationals. While the Mets keep writing him checks, he is 3-4 with the Senators, with a 3.13 ERA. Jeremy Kehrt is making a spot start for Portland today in place of Miguel Gonzalez, who was placed on the disabled list (right elbow inflammation). In Pawtucket, Alex Wilson made his second start, allowing five hits, four walks and two runs over four innings.

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

Twitter: ClearTheBases