PORTLAND — If the Portland Sea Dogs weren’t tired before Tuesday night’s game, they certainly were spent afterward.
After an all-night bus ride from Trenton N.J., arriving in Portland at 6 a.m. Tuesday, the Sea Dogs and New Hampshire Fisher Cats played 13 innings Tuesday.
And the home team left the field exhausted and unhappy.
Kevin Howard’s two-run homer to right field off Chris Balcom-Miller gave the Fisher Cats a 5-3 win at Hadlock Field in a game that lasted 4 hours, 10 minutes.
The loss spoiled Portland’s rally from a 3-0 deficit.
Jeremy Hazelbaker’s two-run single in the seventh got Portland within one.
Ryan Dent scored in the ninth from third base on Marquez Smith’s double-play grounder.
Jackie Bradley Jr. reached base 5 of 7 times (three singles and two walks), and Hazelbaker, Derrik Gibson and Peter Hissey all had three hits,
Fatigue may have been a factor in the Sea Dogs’ sluggish start. But so was John Stilson of New Hampshire, who stymied Portland over five shutout innings.
Stilson, 21, a third-round draft pick last year, was making only his third Double-A start. He allowed three hits and three walks, striking out five.
Stilson is from athletic-rich Texarkana, Texas (see Will Middlebrooks and Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett).
Chris Martin started for the Sea Dogs and gave up two runs over six innings, striking out three. He retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced, but the one who reached was Mark Sobolewski, who homered to right-center for a 2-0 lead.
Reliever Chorye Spoone allowed a run in the seventh on a two-out double and RBI bloop single.
In the seventh, Gibson, Hissey and Bradley singled to load the bases, bringing up Hazelbaker with two outs. He grounded a ball up the middle, scoring two. Bradley hustled to third but was stranded.
In the ninth, Dent and Bradley began the ninth with consecutive singles. Jeremy Hazelbaker beat out a bunt to load the bases. Smith grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, scoring Dent.
In the 11th, Portland threatened with back-to-back singles by Bradley and Hazelbaker (another bunt). Smith sacrificed the runners over. But Bryce Brentz was intentionally walked and Dan Butler hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Reliever Josh Fields kept Portland in the game with his longest appearance, retiring 10 of 11 batters (one walk, four strikeouts).
Balcom-Miller (3-5) entered in the 13th. He allowed a one-out single before Howard hit his second homer of the season.
Portland went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 13th.
NOTES: Bradley worked five full counts and saw a total of 45 pitches in seven plate appearances. He’s batting .360 (9-of-25) with a .448 on-base percentage. Brentz walked four times (twice intentionally). Reliever Jeremy Kehrt, who was sent out 21/2 weeks ago to help Salem, then Pawtucket, returned and will make a spot start today. First baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez, who hasn’t played since Saturday, sat out again with a bruised hand. Backup catcher Matt Spring played first. The announced paid attendance was 3,742.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org