PORTLAND – The Sea Dogs looked as if they might lose a quick game Wednesday afternoon at Hadlock Field. So you could excuse backup outfielder Ronald Bermudez if he was thinking about the team’s long bus ride to Binghamton, N.Y., later that day.
But when starting outfielder Bryce Brentz was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing a called third strike, Bermudez hopped off the bench and joined the game.
“He’s always ready to play,” Portland Manager Kevin Boles said.
Bermudez did not come to bat until the ninth inning — with the bases loaded and the game tied 1-1.
“I was ready for any pitch,” Bermudez. “He threw me a fastball inside — RBI.”
Bermudez swatted a single off the left-field wall to score Kolbrin Vitek from third base for a 2-1 win over the New Britain Rock Cats (10-4).
The Sea Dogs (4-10) did not have a runner reach third base until the ninth inning when New Britain closer Luis Perdomo (0-2) came on with a 1-0 lead.
He walked Derrik Gibson and Vitek to start the inning, then gave up a tying double to Oscar Tejeda, who just missed clearing the left-field wall.
With runners on second and third, Juan Carlos Linares was intentionally walked, bringing up Bermudez, who was just added to Portland’s active roster on Saturday after Peter Hissey broke his hand.
“I get my opportunity and I play hard,” Bermudez said.
Reliever Charle Rosario (1-0), promoted to Portland on Tuesday, got the win with 31/3 innings of hitless relief.
The two starting pitchers did not factor in the decision despite stellar efforts.
Portland left-hander Chris Hernandez, 23, making his third Double-A start, threw 52/3 strong innings, giving up up three infield hits and one unearned run, while striking out eight. He hit one batter and walked another.
New Britain’s Steve Hirschfield, 26, allowed three hits over seven innings, striking out seven.
Hernandez, who lowered his ERA to 1.72, mixed in a fastball, cutter, change-up and curve to allow only two balls out of the infield, both flyouts.
“He was just dominating the inside of the plate,” said catcher Jayson Hernandez. “He had confidence throwing any pitch in any count.”
The Rock Cats got their run in the first inning, helped by a Sea Dogs error.
Leadoff batter Estarlin De Los Santos reached base when Vitek, the third baseman, made a throw well over the first baseman’s head.
After a bunt single and a hit batter, De Los Santos was standing on third. With two outs, he scored on a wild pitch.
Chris Hernandez was sharp the rest of the way.
“All four pitches were working well,” he said. “My change-up was the least (effective) but I was showing it and they were swinging.
“One of those days where everything falls in and you go out and have a good day.”
NOTES: The paid attendance was 4,685. The Sea Dogs will play four games in Binghamton, N.Y., starting tonight. They move on to New Britain, Conn., Monday for another series against the Rock Cats.
Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: