PORTLAND – The relief pitching is getting better. The hitting has always been there.

But these Portland Sea Dogs still find ways to give away a ballgame.

On Sunday, it was Portland’s season-long problem with the glove. The Sea Dogs made three errors on their way to a 10-7 loss to the Bowie Baysox at Hadlock Field.

Ryan Lavarnway and Chih-Hsien Chiang each recorded three RBI, with Lavarnway also notching his 14th home run, leading all Red Sox minor leaguers.

The defeat came in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader. The second game never began because of a continual drizzle and a wet field. That game will be made up at Bowie in August.

The giddiness of Portland’s six-game winning streak to begin June is over. The Sea Dogs (20-40) have lost their last four games. Only one team in minor league baseball has fewer wins.

Portland scored more earned runs (7-6) than Bowie, but mistakes continue to multiply.

“The defensive stuff, we have to make sure we’re improving,” Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. “We have to get better. We have to protect our pitching.”

The Sea Dogs have the second-worst fielding percentage (.972) in the Eastern League.

Second baseman Oscar Tejeda, who made two errors Sunday, now leads the league with 16.

Stolmy Pimentel (0-8, 9.66) continues to struggle, giving up six hits and seven runs (six earned) in 11/3 innings. It was the third time Pimentel has not gotten out of the second inning.

Pimentel’s problem continues to be pitch elevation. He is not keeping the ball down. He gave bloop hits as well as hard-hit balls, like Brandon Waring’s three-run homer over the left-field wall that chased Pimentel.

Tejeda misplayed a grounder right before the home run.

“We did not play quality defense behind (Pimentel),” Boles said. “He gave up a couple of soft hits, but he got the ground ball that could have been a potential double play.

“Once he gave up the home run, it was time to get someone else in there. It’s unfortunate.”

Relievers Caleb Clay (three runs, but none earned) and Seth Garrison (no run) finished strong to give the Sea Dogs a chance. But the deficit was too big.

“The offense has been consistent,” Boles said. “We swung the bats well.”

NOTES: The Sea Dogs fly out today for a week-long road trip, at Erie, Pa., and Akron, Ohio. The team returns for a three-game homestand June 21-23. Besides leading the team in home runs, Lavarnway is also tops with 38 RBI. The announced paid attendance was 6,133, with several no-shows because of the weather.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases