MANCHESTER, N.H. – The New Hampshire Fisher Cats scored a pair of runs in the eighth inning — the first on a wild pitch and the second on a sacrifice fly and close play at the plate — to come from behind and knock off the Portland Sea Dogs 5-4 on Thursday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
The Fisher Cats won their sixth straight and grabbed the opener of the four-game set.
The Sea Dogs took their first lead in the top of the seventh at 4-3 but squandered a chance for more.
“We just weren’t able to add on there,” said Portland Manager Kevin Boles. “I think both clubs missed some offensive opportunities and that was one of those chances that I thought we should have been able to tack on a little bit.”
Brad Glenn reached on a one-out walk issued by Portland reliever Miguel Celestino to start the eighth. Glenn went to third on Clint Robinson’s double to deep center field and scored on a Celestino wild pitch.
Kevin Nolan lifted a fly ball to right fielder J.C. Linares. Glenn tagged and avoided a tag by catcher Christian Vazquez in a close play at the plate.
The Sea Dogs felt Glenn left third base too early and Boles came out to protest the play.
Portland has lost four of its last five games and its record is even at 38-38. The Sea Dogs had been over .500 since April 19.
The Fisher Cats improved to 39-40 and moved within a half- game of Portland in the Eastern Division.
“We’ve been putting together some good games,” said New Hampshire Manager Gary Allenson. “Tonight we took the lead and lost it, and didn’t let that bother us.”
Portland starter Drake Britton worked out of some trouble early and settled down nicely.
The Fisher Cats had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth. Britton got Adam Loewen to ground back to the mound, starting a pitcher-to-catcher to first baseman double play to end the inning.
He retired six straight after that.
The Fisher Cats jumped in front with a pair of runs on three hits, including a Robinson leadoff triple, in the bottom of the second.
Glenn then made it 3-0 with a two-out home run that barely made it out in the third.
The Sea Dogs scored two runs in the top of the fourth and tied it in the sixth.
Garin Cecchini led off the fourth with a single but was erased on Michael Almanzar’s fielder’s choice. Travis Shaw sent starter Sean Nolin’s 1-and-0 pitch over the wall in right-center and it was 3-2.
Almanzar led off the sixth with a double and after a Shaw fly to left, scored on a Linares single to center.
The Sea Dogs went in front with a run in the seventh.
Ryan Dent singled and went to second on Derrike Gibson’s sacrifice. Gibson also reached on a throwing error on the play. Shannon Wilkerson was hit with a pitch to load the bases before Tony Thomas walked to force in a run.
Evan Crawford came on and got out of the inning with a strikeout of Cecchini, a liner from Almanzar and a groundout from Shaw.