HARRISBURG, Pa. – Portland Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler has praised his team for fighting back repeatedly after falling behind in games.

The Sea Dogs did that again Wednesday against the Harrisburg Senators. And, as they have a few too many times, the Sea Dogs came up just short.

Ray Chang and Anthony Rizzo, representing the tying runs in the ninth inning, swung and missed on fastballs from Senators closer Cole Kimball as the Senators hung on for a 5-3 victory.

After Chang struck out on three pitches, Rizzo worked his way to a 3-1 count, setting up a power-versus-power confrontation.

“Just the two pitches I was looking for,” Rizzo said of the at-bat. “I just didn’t connect.”

“He got good fastballs to hit, but that’s why good pitching beats good hitting any time in this game,” Beyeler said. “We’ll take that matchup every time, but then so will they.”

Portland trailed 2-0 after an inning and 5-1 after three before starter Jeremy Kehrt and reliever Eammon Portice held the Senators scoreless over the next five innings.

The Sea Dogs added single runs in the seventh and ninth to get within striking distance.

“Jeremy did a heck of a job,” Beyeler said. “He had a couple of innings where he had a chance to fold up and get us into the bullpen early, but he kept himself in the ballgame. And Portice threw the ball very well tonight, the best I’ve seen him throw in a while.”

Kehrt struggled through a three-run third. Stephen Lombardozzi, whose father Steve Lombardozzi played for the Minnesota Twins, led off the inning with a home run.

With two outs and two on base, Rizzo could not handle Marvin Lowrance’s shot up the first-base line, which went for an RBI single. Tim Pahuta followed with a run-scoring double to increase Harrisburg’s lead to 5-1.

Kehrt allowed one hit over the next three innings, but Harrisburg starter Brad Peacock was just as effective, getting the Sea Dogs to hit ground balls.

He induced two groundouts in the fourth and killed Portland rallies with double-play grounders in the fifth and sixth.

Portland loaded the bases with one out in the seventh against Rafael Martin, but the inning ended two pitches later after just one runner scored.

Rizzo grounded the first pitch he saw to first to advance the runners and score Jose Iglesias, and Luis Exposito flied to left.

Chih-Hsien Chiang led off the ninth with a home run against major league veteran Orlando Hernandez, and Nate Spears drew a walk before Kimball came in to strike out Chang and Rizzo.


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