RICHMOND, Va. — The Portland Sea Dogs and Richmond Flying Squirrels will face off again. The two division leaders in the Eastern League play a three-game series Friday through Sunday.
For now, the Flying Squirrels have the upper hand.
Richmond took two of three in the weekend series at the Diamond, winning the rubber game 6-0 Sunday afternoon. Portland managed only six hits.
“They’re in first place,” Sea Dogs Manager Billy McMillon said. “That should speak enough. They can play the game. That’s a solid ball club over there.
“They certainly played better than us today. We played better (Saturday) and they got us the first day.”
Starting pitcher Mike Augliera pitched six shut out innings for Portland. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out five.
“Six scoreless innings,” said McMillon. “You can’t ask for much more than that. Established the strike zone and was able to mix in some different pitches. Did a really good job.”
Unfortunately for Portland, its bullpen struggled again, allowing six runs in the final two innings. Portland went 3-3 on this six-game road trip and its bullpen allowed 21 earned runs in 19 innings.
The Eastern Division-leading Sea Dogs loaded the bases on a single and two walks in the first inning with no outs, but Richmond starter Kyle Crick struck out the next two batters and got Stefan Welch on a fly to right to end the threat.
Crick, rated the top prospect in the San Francisco system by Baseball America and No. 33 overall, went four innings. He allowed two hits, struck out five and walked three.
Richmond didn’t get its first hit off Augliera until the fourth, when Mario Lisson singled sharply to left with two out.
After Augliera left, Richmond lit up reliever Dayan Diaz for four runs in the seventh, sending 10 men to the plate.
With runners at the corners, Tyler LaTorre hit a one-hopper to Heiker Meneses. The Sea Dogs shortstop slipped, got to his feet and fired home to catcher Michael Brenly, who tagged Angel Villalona for an apparent out. But the ball came out of Brenly’s glove on a swipe tag, allowing Villalona to score the first run.
“That was just one of a series of missed opportunities for us,” said McMillon. “That didn’t account for all six runs but it would have been nice to get that play. The ball was in his glove, he was making the tag and the ball comes out. You would hope he would make that play.
“You can understand why he doesn’t but you hope he can make that play.”
Diaz got Myles Schroder on a comebacker, then walked Skyler Stromsmoe to load the bases. Elliott Blair, the older brother of Portland’s Carson Blair, cleared them with a double into the right-field corner, making it 4-0.
“The last two games he’s put together really good at-bats,” said Carson Blair.
The Squirrels tacked on two more runs in the eighth against Aaron Kurcz.
NOTES: Right-hander Jeremy Kehrt was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization Saturday. He left the Sea Dogs Sunday morning for Double-A Chattanooga. Kehrt, who spent parts of five seasons with Portland, was 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in seven appearances this season.