MANCHESTER, N.H. — The New Hampshire Fisher Cats broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the sixth inning and all but eliminated the Portland Sea Dogs from the Eastern League playoff race with an 8-1 win Monday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
It was the third straight loss for the Sea Dogs (65-69), who climbed into playoff contention by winning 29 of their first 41 games after the All-Star break.
Portland trails the second-place Reading Phillies by 6½ games in the East Division with seven games remaining. The top two teams in each division make the playoffs.
The Sea Dogs host Reading in their final four-game homestand starting Friday, but they’ll be eliminated from the playoff race with one more loss or one more Reading victory.
Sea Dogs starter Stolmy Pimentel (5-7), who entered the game with a 3-1 record this season against New Hampshire, allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings.
Pimentel gave up a run in the bottom of the first inning. New Hampshire leadoff batter Ryan Goins singled, moved to third on Jake Marisnick’s double and scored on a groundout.
Portland tied the game in the top of the sixth. Peter Hissey, Marquez Smith and Bryce Brentz opened the inning with consecutive singles, and Travis Shaw hit a sacrifice fly, driving home Hissey. But the Sea Dogs wasted a chance to take the lead as Xander Bogaerts struck out and Christian Vazquez grounded out.
Smith then committed an error at second base to start the bottom of the sixth, allowing Brad McElroy to reach. After a sacrifice bunt, Marisnick hit a single, and both runners scored when Ryan Schimpf doubled to right field. Schimpf stole third and scored on Brian Van Kirk’s infield single.
Goins added a two-run homer in the seventh, and Gabe Jacobo hit a two-run double to make it 8-1.
Portland loaded the bases again with nobody out in the eighth on two walks and an error, but former Sea Dogs reliever Chorye Spoone escaped the jam by striking out the next three batters.
New Hampshire starter Fernando Hernandez (5-7) pitched six innings to get the win, giving up five hits and three walks while striking out four.
Pimentel gave up eight hits, walked one and struck out five.
NOTES: Outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, swapping place with Ronald Bermudez.
Hazelbaker, 25, was leading the Sea Dogs with 19 home runs, 77 runs scored and 33 stolen bases. He was batting .273 with 64 RBI.
Bermudez batted .163 in 17 games with Pawtucket. In 40 games with Portland earlier this season, he hit .265 with two home runs and 12 RBI. …
Brentz was chosen as Eastern League Player of the Week for the second time this season. Brentz had six straight multihit games last week and batted .536 with two homers and a league-high 10 RBI. He was 4 for 5 with two homers in a 7-2 victory at New Britain on Aug. 22.