PORTLAND – They are not going to the playoffs, but the Portland Sea Dogs can enjoy little victories like the 6-5 win Friday night over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Portland played the spoiler, preventing New Hampshire from celebrating a division title on Friday.

The Sea Dogs (59-80) also came closer to finishing the year strong. Portland would like at least 61 wins this year to avoid having the worst record in club history (60-81 in 1994).

“We need two more wins,” said outfielder Mitch Dening, who hit a three-run homer on Friday.

New Hampshire (74-65) needs one win the clinch the Eastern League East Division.

Dening’s three-run blast off the Ford sign, above the right-field video board, capped a four-run second inning. Ronald Bermudez then tripled in a run in the sixth.

Mark Wagner broke a 5-5 tie in the seventh with his RBI double. Wagner was happy and relieved with the winning hit.

“We had a long bus ride (all night from Harrisburg, arriving in Portland at 7 a.m. Friday),” Wagner said. “Everybody was tired. Let’s go home.”

Blake Maxwell ensured that happened with two innings of shutout relief for his 15th save. Reliever Kyle Fernandez (3-5) got the win.

Sea Dogs starting pitcher Matt Rusch, signed out of the independent leagues two weeks ago, is still looking for his first win. Rusch, 28, left with one out and one on in the sixth inning, the Sea Dogs up 4-1.

The bullpen could not hold the lead.

Rusch, 28, allowed eight hits and one walk over 51/3 innings but escaped trouble while striking out five. He was not drafted out of Mount Olive College but eventually signed with the Tigers. Conversely, New Hampshire starter Chad Jenkins was the Toronto Blue Jays’ first-round draft pick in 2009, signing for $1.4 million.

Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

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Twitter: ClearTheBases