The Portland Sea Dogs were hoping Saturday to go 11 games over .500 for the first time in five years.
But they didn’t threaten much after the second inning and lost 6-5 to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Hadlock Field.
New Hampshire broke a 4-4 tie with two runs in the seventh inning off reliever Matty Ott (0-1), who was coming off the disabled list and making his first appearance in three weeks.
The Sea Dogs scored four runs in the second, thanks to two walks, a hit batter and a crucial fielding error by third baseman Andy Burns.
But Portland got only three more hits in the game. Heiker Meneses tripled in the ninth and scored on Derrik Gibson’s sacrifice fly.
The Sea Dogs dropped to 21-12 and New Hampshire improved to 15-19. They will finish their four-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday for a Mother’s Day game, complete with pink uniforms.
Sea Dogs starter Keith Couch gave up seven hits and four runs over 52/3 innings, and most of the hits came in bunches.
After striking out the first two batters in the first inning, Couch allowed a single, walk and back-to-back doubles as New Hampshire took a 3-0 lead.
“I was fighting myself all game. Was one of those games,” Couch said.
Toronto Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen, on a rehab appearance, started for New Hampshire and retired the side in the first inning.
Scott Copeland, a usual starter, entered in the second inning and quickly gave up a single (Carlos Rivero) and double (Blake Swihart). A groundout RBI, hit batter and two walks gave Portland two runs.
With two outs, Deven Marrero’s grounder went through Burns’ legs, scoring two more for a 4-3 lead.
Couch allowed one more hit until the sixth inning. With two outs, Couch again gave up consecutive doubles as New Hampshire tied the game.
Couch (4-0) didn’t factor in the decision, with his ERA now 3.03.
“He settled down nicely,” Manager Billy McMillon said. “In his last inning he just didn’t have the quality of stuff he had before.”
Michel Olmsted relieved Couch and continued his dominance in Double-A. He ended the sixth with a strikeout. After yielding a leadoff single in the seventh, he used his fastball-slider combo for three more strikeouts.
Ott allowed a leadoff double to Kevin Nolan in the eighth. Nolan scored after two wild pitches. Ott issued a two-out walk and Jonathan Jones followed with an RBI double.
“Couple balls fell in. Some balls in the dirt,” McMillon said. “But it was good to see (Ott) back out there completing.”
NOTES: Swihart, the designated hitter Saturday, reached on an error in the eighth inning. He then ran into the second baseman, breaking up a double play. Swihart walked off with a slight limp. McMillon said he didn’t believe Swihart was seriously hurt. … Second baseman Mookie Betts, who has a 61-game on-base streak, didn’t play, receiving a scheduled day off. … The announced paid attendance was 4,576.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: