NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — As he has done all season, Mookie Betts ignited the Portland Sea Dogs’ offense Thursday.
The exciting second baseman went 3 for 5 with three RBI, including a tiebreaking two-run homer in a six-run seventh inning as the Sea Dogs defeated the New Britain Rock Cats 13-5 before 5,216 at New Britain Stadium.
Portland, which totaled 20 hits, salvaged the finale of the three-game set and snapped the Rock Cats’ four-game winning streak.
Now batting .401, Betts has made it look easy through the first six weeks of the season but insists it hasn’t been easy at all.
“I’ve had a little success now but next month I could be (batting) .150 and easily decline,” he said. “It’s definitely not easy. I have to work each and every day.”
Betts, who also had an RBI single in the second inning, has reached safely in all 35 of his starts for the Sea Dogs and 65 straight games in the regular season, dating to last Aug. 2 when he was in the Class A Carolina League.
His home run off Adrian Salcedo (0-5) gave the Sea Dogs a 5-3 lead.
“It’s fun to be watching it,” said Portland hitting coach Rich Gedman. “He’s certainly been a spark for us. He has a consistent approach daily; he’s put good at-bats together throughout the course of the season. He finds ways to get on base and seems to be in the right spot at the right time.”
The Sea Dogs feasted on New Britain’s bullpen, scoring 10 runs off three relievers, including five in 1 1/3 innings against Salcedo, who surrendered hits to the first five batters he faced in the seventh.
The Sea Dogs had eight hits in the inning, then parlayed four more hits into another four runs in the ninth.
Travis Shaw, Henry Ramos, Derrik Gibson and Shannon Wilkerson, like Betts, finished with three hits for the Sea Dogs. Wilkerson also drove in three runs.
Brandon Waring had a two-run single in the second and a sacrifice fly in the fourth to give the Rock Cats a 3-2 lead off Portland starter Brian Johnson.
Matty Ott (1-1) earned the win in relief, allowing two runs and four hits over two innings after taking over for Johnson in the sixth.
Betts pushed his average over .400 with a single in the ninth.
“All the superlatives that we can comment about and give to someone, he has,” Gedman said. “The way I look at it, keep riding the wave and don’t try to figure it out.”
Some have called Betts the best prospect to come through the Eastern League in a decade, and he’s certainly making a strong case for a promotion.
“I’m fine with staying in Double-A all year if they need me to,” Betts said. “That’s not what I’m worried about. I just go out and play no matter where I am, whether it’s low A or Triple-A.”