AKRON, Ohio – J.C. Linares hit a two-run double in the top of the eighth as the Portland Sea Dogs attempted a late rally, but the effort fell one run short as the Akron Aeros prevailed 4-3 at Canal Park.
The Aeros (31-31) lead the three-game series 2-0 and have now won their last five games, while the Sea Dogs (31-28) continue to wallow, having dropped five of their last six contests.
Akron was on the attack early, putting runners in scoring position with a double steal in the bottom of the first. Base stealers Jose Ramirez and Ronny Rodriguez then scored on a two-out single to centerfield by Carlos Moncrief.
The Aeros added to their lead with two more runs in the bottom of the third on a double by Jesus Aguilar, his 10th of the season.
Portland’s Shannon Wilkerson led off the game with a hit to center, but after that the Sea Dogs bats were quiet until the seventh inning. Michael Almanzar doubled to lead off the seventh and ended up scoring Portland’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Kolbrin Vitek.
Linares doubled with two out in the eighth to score Xander Bogaerts, who had singled, and Almanzar, who had walked. Akron sent reliever Jose Flores to the mound in response, and he got Tony Thomas to ground out to end the inning.
Flores struck out the side in the ninth to end the game and pick up his sixth save of the season.
Portland starter Matt Barnes (3-3) was saddled with the loss. He allowed five hits and four earned runs in four innings pitched while striking out eight. Akron starter Jordan Cooper (2-2) claimed the win, lasting six innings with one hit, three walks and three strikeouts.
The teams take the field at 2:05 p.m. Sunday with Keith Couch (3-2, 4.78 ERA) taking the mound for Portland. Will Roberts (4-2, 3.92) is scheduled to start for Akron.