Before the possible arrival of Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino on Saturday, the Portland Sea Dogs hit three home runs and ended a four-game losing streak Friday night with a 6-3 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in front of a near-capacity crowd of 7,157 at Hadlock Field.
News of Victorino’s assignment came from media reports in Houston, where the Red Sox are playing. Victorino is expected here on a rehab assignment as he remains on the disabled list because of hamstring and back issues.
Meanwhile, the Sea Dogs have had few issues, racing to a 60-33 record.
But Portland has seen prospects move on, and the Sea Dogs were just swept in four games in Binghamton.
“You turn the page,” center fielder Derrik Gibson said. “You run into (losing streaks) sometime. We’re getting into the grinding days of baseball. We had a good start tonight.”
Gibson got it going, leading off the bottom of the first and swatting the second pitch from Scott Copeland (5-7) to left-center for his second home run of the season.
Dave Chester and Mike Brenly homered in the second inning as Portland jumped ahead 4-0.
Jeremy Kehrt (1-0), who has pitched parts of five seasons with the Sea Dogs, made a spot start and allowed one run over six innings. Kehrt, 28, has been both a reliever and starter at all levels of the minors. He began this season as a Pawtucket starter.
“Filled in while other guys were getting healthy and then bounced back and forth from the pen,” Kehrt said. “Over the years, ‘bounced’ is a very good term to use – I just do whatever. I’m used to it.”
Giving Portland six strong innings was huge, especially with the staff thin and a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday. Noe Ramirez relieved Kehrt and gave up two runs over three innings, picking up his 10th save.
Binghamton (55-38) lost Friday, so Portland’s lead in the Eastern League’s East Division is back to five games.
NOTES: Boston Manager John Farrell told reporters in Houston about the plan for Victorino to come to Hadlock. Victorino has been on the disabled list since May 24. He played seven innings Friday for Class A Lowell, going 0 for 2 with a walk. … Only 850 tickets remain for Saturday’s doubleheader, which will start at 5 p.m. … Pitcher Henry Owens and second baseman Sean Coyle fly out Saturday for Minneapolis, where they will take part Sunday in the All-Star Futures Game. Both players were also selected for the Eastern League All-Star Game on Wednesday in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Coyle will be there, along with Gibson, catcher Blake Swihart and pitcher Robby Scott. Owens is one of three Portland All-Star pitchers who won’t participate, along with Brian Johnson and Ramirez. … Coyle went 1 for 3 and scored two runs. He finally has enough plate appearances to qualify among the Eastern League leaders and ranks third in the league with a .336 average. He also stole second base in the fifth inning and remains perfect in 13 attempts. … Ryan Dent rejoined the team, having been promoted from Salem. Catcher Danny Bethea is up from Lowell, filling in while Matt Spring is in Pawtucket.