PORTLAND – On Tuesday afternoon, the Eastern League released rosters for its All-Star game, scheduled for two weeks from today in Harrisburg, Pa.

On Tuesday night, fans at Hadlock Field got a sneak preview.

All three of the Sea Dogs’ all-stars — infielders Nate Spears and Ray Chang, and starting pitcher Stephen Fife — took part in the proceedings, but it was visiting Harrisburg that came away with an 8-4 victory before a crowd of 5,343.

“It’s a pretty big honor,” said Fife, informed of his selection by Manager Arnie Beyeler before the game, “my first time being selected to an all-star team.”

Fife (4-2) faced some frustration Tuesday night.

The Senators scored three runs in the third inning on a fisted blooper to shallow right field and a double inside the third-base bag that might just as easily have been a double play.

“The way I look at it, I made two quality pitches,” Fife said. “I beat a guy up and in and he fisted a ball over first base and then I made a quality pitch down in the zone and the guy put a good swing on it. Two or three feet to the right and it’s a double play.

“I don’t see those as failures, but I kind of set the table for them (with two walks). My lack of command is what they fed off of.”

A two-out, three-run homer in the fifth by Michael Martinez made it 6-1 for Harrisburg, and came three batters after another potential double-play grounder yielded only a force at second base.

“Fifie’s done a real good job of being able to grind through some outings this year,” Sea Dogs pitching coach Bob Kipper said.

“He’s learning that good pitches don’t always give you good results. Unfairness happens, and we’re forced to respond to it.”

Trailing 8-2 in the seventh, the Sea Dogs responded with a two-run homer by Anthony Rizzo and loaded the bases to bring the tying run to the plate with one out.

“Arnie always preaches a hard nine (innings),” Rizzo said. “We didn’t come out on top, but we fought and we were in position to tie it up.”

The loss brought the Sea Dogs to .500 at 38-38 in this unusual three-game homestand between long bus trips to western New York and Pennsylvania.

“It’s draining but it’s no excuse,” Rizzo said.

“You’ve got to mentally push through it.”

The Senators (38-40) put some of their five all-stars on display Tuesday night.

Left-hander Tom Milone (6-3) retired 14 of 15 Sea Dogs in one stretch, and struck out four with no walks in six innings. Martinez homered, doubled and made several sparkling plays at second base.

First baseman Chris Marrero had two hits and scored twice.

Designated hitter Jesus Valdez, who isn’t on the All-Star roster, drove in four runs with a double and a home run.

One night after being held hitless until their 32nd batter of the game — Rizzo’s one-out double in the ninth broke up Harrisburg’s collective no-hit bid — the Sea Dogs reached safely on their second batter Tuesday.

Spears golfed a home run into the next-to-last row of the blue pavilion bleachers in right field for a 1-0 Sea Dogs lead.

Spears later came up in the seventh as the potential tying run, and had words with plate umpire Chad Whitson during and after his at-bat, which ended with a swinging strikeout.

“Apparently he thought the (first pitch) hit him in the foot,” Beyeler said of Spears and his discussion with Whitson. “It kind of lingered through his whole at-bat.”

Chang, who doubled home Portland’s second run an inning earlier, ended the threat by flying out to shallow left.

Matt Sheely was the only Sea Dog batter with more than one hit.

His bunt single leading off the home sixth ended a stretch of 10 consecutive outs recorded by Milone.

After Rizzo’s homer in the seventh knocked out Milone, the Sea Dogs loaded the bases with out one on a pair of singles by Chih-Hsien Chiang and Sheely and an error, but Harrisburg reliever Hassan Pena retired Spears and Chang. Rafael Martin followed with two scoreless innings to close out the Harrisburg victory.

Sea Dogs reliever Eammon Portice pitched three innings, none more impressive than his last.

He needed only nine pitches to strike out the side in the eighth, after striking out the last two batters he faced in the seventh.

“He’s got that kind of ability,” Beyeler said.


Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: [email protected]


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