RICHMOND, Va. – Drake Britton gave up his first earned runs but continued to stand out Friday night, helping the Portland Sea Dogs to a 4-2 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Britton, 23, the Eastern League pitcher of the week, had his scoreless string snapped at 13 innings.
“He’s got quality stuff,” Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. “He keeps himself in shape and finished strong. He doesn’t seem to tire.”
Britton, a left-hander, struck out four of the final five batters he faced. That included three in the sixth inning when his fastball was clocked at 94 mph. He scattered eight hits and struck out four without allowing a walk.
From there the Sea Dogs turned to relievers Chorye Spoone and Josh Fields. After getting one out in the seventh, Spoone walked three straight before striking out Tommy Joseph and retiring Russ Mitchell on a fly to left.
He then pitched a perfect eighth and Fields did the same in the ninth. Spoone (1-1) recorded the win and Fields picked up his fourth save.
“We got some quality pitching,” Boles said.
Offensively, the Sea Dogs (28-38) struggled during a four-game losing steak. They had one hit in their last 49 plate appearances entering the game.
But in the eighth with the score 2-2, the Sea Dogs went to work against Squirrels reliever Chris Gloor (1-1).
Juan Carlos Linares (3 for 3) reached on an infield single and took second on a wild throw. With two outs, Bryce Brentz reached on another infield single to put runners at first and third. Dan Butler and Peter Hissey then lined back-to-back RBI singles to give the Sea Dogs a 4-2 lead.
“Their pitchers did a quality job, but we got some timely hits and a couple of breaks,” Boles said. “That was impressive, especially against Gloor.”
Regarding his team’s offensive woes, Boles said, “We’re just going to keep working. We trust our hitters.”
Butler led off the second with a triple but the Sea Dogs failed to drive him home. Still, Butler wasn’t discouraged.
“There’s plenty of time,” he said. “Nobody’s rushing that early in the game.”
Regarding his decisive RBI single, Butler said, “I was just looking for a pitch up trying to stay within myself.”
Portland took a 1-0 lead in the first. Jeremy Hazelbaker led off with a walk, stole second and scored on Linares’ single to left.
Richmond (32-25) tied it in the third. Ryan Cavan singled off Britton, advanced to third on Liles’ hit-and-run single to right and scored on Daniel Mayora’s single up the middle.
Richmond took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Ehire Adrianza had a two-out single, stole second and scored when Mark Minicozzi delivered a two-run double to the gap in right-center.
The Sea Dogs made it 2-2 in the fifth. Bryan Johns singled, stole second, advanced to third on Hazelbaker’s fly to right and scored on Ryan Dent’s single to shallow center. The ball glanced off the glove of shortstop Adrianza, who made a diving effort.
The teams play again at 6:35 tonight and then at 2:05 p.m. Sunday.