This Portland Sea Dogs team continues to look like one of the best in franchise history after sweeping the Binghamton Mets 5-1 and 6-5 Wednesday night at Hadlock Field.
Portland trailed 5-0 in the second game before rallying, capped by a five-run fifth inning.
Portland leads the Eastern League East Division by four games with a 30-15 record.
The last time the Sea Dogs were that many games over .500 was in 2006 – the year they won the Eastern League championship.
Now fast-forward to a 2014 team filled with prospects and veterans.
“It’s awesome,” said shortstop Deven Marrero, who sat out Wednesday with a jammed finger. “It doesn’t happen too often that you have a group of so many talented players on one team.”
Keith Couch (6-0), the Game 1 starter, became the league leader in wins after throwing a complete game (seven innings), allowing one run on nine hits.
But Couch now has to share the lead because Robby Scott (6-1) won the second game with scoreless relief.
Offensively, the Sea Dogs got a big night from third baseman Stefan Welch, the little-known Australian obtained in a trade with Pittsburgh last June. He knocked in five runs, including a three-run homer in the first inning of the night. It was his second home run.
Travis Shaw hit his team-leading ninth home run, which ties him for third among Eastern League sluggers.
Mookie Betts hit two doubles and had an RBI, while playing center field in both games. Betts is batting .368.
In the second game, Welch and Peter Hissey had two-run singles in the fifth.
Scott, a left-hander signed out of the independent leagues three years ago, entered the second game and pitched two-hit ball over three innings. Scott has recorded scoreless outings in 10 of his 11 appearances, dropping his ERA to 0.70.
Couch gave the bullpen a break in the first game. He had only one 1-2-3 inning, but kept Binghamton contained, inducing three double-play ground balls with his two-seam fastball.
“All the base-hits they had, I just trusted my two seamer to bail me out,” said Couch, whose ERA is 2.39, fourth-best among league starters. “(Hits) will happen. I have to stick to my plan.”
Shaw upped his average to .307, and features a .399 on-base percentage.
“I’m seeing the ball well. Feel really confident at the plate,” Shaw said. “Can go to left or right (field).”
When Shaw uses all the fields he is at his best. Shaw has played 201 games for Portland, dating back to 2012. It may be time for a promotion to Pawtucket.
“I’m doing my part,” he said with a smile.
NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 3,390 … Marrero, who jammed his right middle finger Tuesday night, said he expected to play Thursday … Before the game, Sea Dogs President Charlie Eshbach and General Manager Geoff Iacuessa were presented their 2013 Red Sox World Series rings. It was the first ring for Iacuessa, who became general manager in 2011, and the fourth for Eshbach (three from the Red Sox and one from the Marlins, who won the World Series in 1997, when they were the parent club to the Sea Dogs) … Binghamton dropped to 24-20.