HARRISBURG, Pa. — Nate Spears hit home runs in the first and second innings to help the Sea Dogs get their first win of the year in Harrisburg, 10-5 over the playoff-hungry Senators.

Spears hit a two-run shot in the first and a three-run blast in the second, a screaming line drive, to give Portland a comfortable lead against a team that had beaten it seven straight times. He added an RBI single in the fifth.

Anthony Rizzo cleared the bases with a two-out, three-run double in the fourth, chasing Harrisburg starter Aaron Thompson from the game. The hit gave him 29 RBI in August, the most for any month in the 17 years of the Portland club.

Then again, Thompson was no worse than he was the last time the Sea Dogs visited Metro Bank Park. Portland cuffed him for eight runs on 10 hits Aug. 1, but Portland’s pitching could not hold the lead and the Senators won that game in 11 innings.

Monday, Blake Maxwell’s performance with an 9-1 lead was not a thing of beauty, but he survived a shaky fifth inning to earn the win. Maxwell had already given up a pair of runs on three hits and two walks in the inning to allow the Senators to get back within six runs at 9-3. He left the bases loaded, however, by inducing an inning-ending popup by Chris Marrero, who already had a pair of hits, including a solo home run in the second.

Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler applauded the job Maxwell did getting through that inning.

“Those games are tough to pitch,” Beyeler said of the early, lopsided lead. “He just goes out there and pounds the zone. He lost his command there in the fifth, but he got it back and made the big pitch.”

Maxwell benefited from good Sea Dogs defense. Maxwell, who had walked only five hitters in 32 innings since coming to Portland, walked Josh Johnson with one out in the first. The next batter, Michael Burgess, hit a bouncer to the right of second baseman Spears, with Johnson running with the pitch. Rather than take the sure out at first, Spears quickly whipped a throw to Ray Chang at second base, nipping Johnson by a step and starting a 4-6-3 double play. Spears started another double play in the fourth, tagging Marrero as he ran by before throwing to first.

The Sea Dogs garnered just two more hits after the fifth, tacking on an insurance run on Ryan Lavarnway’s fourth home run of the season. The battle of the bullpens was a draw, with each of four relievers, two for each club, yielding one run. The Senators’ Hassan Pena struck out six Portland batters in 31/3 innings of relief.


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