MANCHESTER, N.H. — Portland Sea Dogs right-hander Jeremy Kehrt had a nice outing against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats a week ago at Hadlock Field.
The Fisher Cats got to Kehrt early and often Friday night, however, exacting a little revenge on the way to a 7-4 win at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
“We just got some pitches up in our zone and attacked them,” said Fisher Cats first baseman K.C. Hobson, who hit a two-run homer in a four-run first inning. “Sometimes everyone tends to take their foot off the gas pedal (but) we did a good job to keep scoring.”
It was the fourth home run of the season for Hobson, the son former Red Sox third baseman and manager Butch Hobson.
The Sea Dogs fell to 63-36 with their second straight loss to New Hampshire. Portland’s lead in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division remained 3 1/2 games over Binghamton, the lowest it’s been since May 20.
The Fisher Cats improved to 46-52.
Portland rallied from a 6-0 deficit after three innings and had a chance at the end but came up short.
“Giving a team that is playing as well as they are that much of a lead is too much to overcome,” said Portland Manager Billy McMillion. “The big blow was the home run in the first.”
Fisher Cats closer Gregory Infante issued a couple walks in the top of the ninth to bring Shannon Wilkerson to the plate as the tying run.
Infante fell behind 2-0, then fired three called strikes past Wilkerson, the final one registering 100 miles per hour on the stadium’s radar gun.
Kehrt, who held the Fisher Cats to six hits and a run through six innings in a win last Friday, had a rough night.
New Hampshire homered in each of the first three innings.
It was the second time in his career that Kehrt gave up three home runs in an outing: the first was Sept. 3, 2011, also to the Fisher Cats, at Hadlock Field.
Hobson’s shot to right in the first inning came after the Fisher Cats had already scored two runs on a single by Jon Berti, a double by Kevin Nolan and a single by Andy Burns.
Dalton Pompey in the second inning and Burns in the third had the other New Hampshire home runs.
Kehrt allowed eight hits and seven runs in four innings.
“I don’t know exactly what his issue was,” McMillion said. “He’s been reliable for us. I believe it was just a blip.”
Pete Ruiz allowed two hits in three innings of relief, and Aaron Kurcz had a hitless inning.
New Hampshire lefty starter Matt Boyd got through the first three innings without allowing a base runner.
Derrik Gibson singled to left to lead off the fourth, went to second on a fielder’s choice and hustled home from second base on Blake Swihart’s long sacrifice fly to left.
Michael Almanzar and David Chester started the fifth inning with doubles, and Gibson hit an RBI single to cut New Hampshire’s lead to 7-3.
In the seventh, Heiker Meneses reached third when left fielder Michael Crouse dropped his fly ball for an error, then scored on Ryan Dent’s single to make it 7-4.
Gibson finished with three of the Sea Dogs’ seven hits and Almanzar had two.