BOWIE, Md. — Portland’s Stefan Welch entered the game late for defensive purposes for starting first baseman Kelly Johnson, who was on a major league rehab appearance.
But Welch, now hitting .227, ended up with two hits in as many at bats and was part of a two-run rally in the top of the 11th as the Sea Dogs beat the Bowie Baysox 3-1 on Tuesday.
“It is cool to see how he goes about his business,” Welch said of watching Johnson, acquired last week in a trade with the Yankees.
Sean Coyle hit an RBI double with no outs in the top of the 11th to break a 1-1 tie in the opener of a three-game series in front of a crowd of 8,193.
“Coyle came up with a big RBI double,” said Portland Manager Billy McMillon, whose team is 6-1 in extra-inning games.
Welch led off the 11th with a single against Bowie reliever Marcel Prado and scored when Coyle laced a shot down the left field line. Coyle, now hitting .311, then scored on a single by David Chester to make it 3-1.
“He has a pretty good split (fastball). I was able to put it in the gap,” Welch said of his hit against Prado. “This is probably one of the best groups I have played with. We play hard. It was nice to get the win.”
Bowie center fielder Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski, tied the game in the bottom of the ninth against Portland closer Noe Ramirez on a groundout on a close play at first.
Sea Dogs left-hander Brian Johnson, who entered the game with an ERA of 2.05, allowed just three hits in a season-high eight shutout innings but was denied the win when Bowie rallied. He had five strikeouts and no walks.
“I think the story of the game was Johnson, going eight innings with no runs,” McMillon said. “There in the 11th we got the leadoff single by Welch. Coyle has been having a really good year.”
The winning pitcher was Robby Scott (7-2), who pitched two scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Prado (5-3) was tagged with the loss.
The Sea Dogs took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Jonathan Roof, the No. 9 hitter, hit a double to left with two outs. That scored Keury De La Cruz, who had doubled with one out for his second hit of the game.
Bowie starter Tim Berry allowed one run on three hits in six innings before reliever Matt Bischoff took over in the seventh.
Kelly Johnson was hitless in three at bats with two strikeouts batting in the No. 3 spot. He was dealt by the Yankees to Boston last week in a deal that sent infielder Stephen Drew to New York.
McMillon said Johnson is expected to start at third base against Bowie on Wednesday.
Portland (73-44) remained four games ahead of second-place Binghamton – a 9-6 winner at Richmond – in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division.
Bowie (57-59) stayed in third place in the Western Division, nine games behind Richmond and 41/2 behind second-place Akron
NOTES: Catcher Carson Blair was promoted to the Sea Dogs from Single-A Salem on Tuesday after catcher Blake Swihart was sent to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday.