MANCHESTER, N.H. — The New Hampshire Fisher Cats started fast and never let up Thursday night on the way to a 9-2 win over the Portland Sea Dogs in the first game of the season between the two Eastern League rivals.

“They swing the bats,” Sea Dog Manager Arnie Beyeler said of the Fisher Cats. “They swung them pretty hard.”

The Fisher Cats jumped on Portland starter Ryne Miller for three runs in the bottom of the first inning, including two home runs.

With one out, Adam Calderone pulled a drive over the fence in right field for a 1-0 lead. After Eric Thames singled, Brad Emaus quickly made it 3-0 with an opposite-field shot to right-center.

“They opened things up pretty early,” Beyeler said. “It’s tough to play catch-up.”

The Fisher Cats made it even more difficult when they tacked on four runs in the fourth to push the lead to 7-0. Calderone hit his second home run of the night – a two-run blast.

“It’s tough to play from behind, especially with their pitching staff,” said Sea Dogs right fielder Ryan Kalish.

“They’re not No. 1 in the (Eastern Division) for no reason. They’re that good. Early in the game we’ve got to get on the board, or they’re going to run through us.”

The Fisher Cats, who began the four-game series with a one-game lead over Portland, won their third straight game and ran their league-leading record to 22-12. Portland had its two-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 19-13.

The Sea Dogs got two runs back in the top of the fifth but could do little else with New Hampshire right-hander Bobby Bell.

Chih-Hsien Chiang ripped a single to right to open the fifth but was thrown out at second while trying to stretch the hit into a double. Will Vazquez walked and Nate Spears flied out before Che-Hsuan Lin homered to left to cut the margin to 7-2.

Bell gave up just the two runs on seven hits, struck out four and walked one in seven innings, his longest stint of the season.

“His tempo was good,” said Luis Rivera, the former Red Sox shortstop who’s in his first season as the Fisher Cats manager. “It was grab the ball, pitch; Grab the ball, pitch. He was going after hitters.”

The Fisher Cats put up a couple more runs in the seventh. David Cooper knocked in a run with a double, went to third on a fly out and scored on a wild pitch by Robert Coello, who came on in relief of Santo Luis.

Miller gave up seven runs on seven hits and walked three in his four innings. Santo Luis allowed one hit over two innings, and Coello gave up two runs on one hit and three walks.


NOTES: Portland won 16 of 28 games against the Fisher Cats last season. The teams are scheduled to play 19 games this season, 11 of them in Manchester. … Third baseman Ray Chang was activated from the temporary inactive list and had a pair of singles for the Sea Dogs. Outfielder Jason Place was moved to the inactive list.


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