TRENTON, N.J. – A four-run fifth inning was all the Portland Sea Dogs needed to back pitcher Chris Hernandez in a 4-2 win Friday night over the Trenton Thunder.

Sea Dogs first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez got the scoring started by driving a 1-0 pitch over the wall just left of center field to lead off the fifth.

After Oscar Tejeda followed with a single, Bryce Brentz hit an RBI double to make it 2-0, then stopped at third on Dan Butler’s double that chased reliever Ryan Pope from the game. Pope’s replacement, Lee Hyde, walked the next two batters to force home a run, and Butler scored on Kolbrin Vitek’s groundout.

Trenton starting pitcher Graham Stoneburner reaggravated a groin injury and left after 2 1/3 innings. The 24-year-old righty was making just his fourth start of the season.

Brentz continued his hot play of late, going 2 for 4 to raise his average to .252 after it had been as low as .212 just last week. The 2010 first-round draft pick is 11 for 30 (.367) in his last eight games with two home runs, four RBI and five runs scored.

“I think he was trying to do a little bit too much early on, but he’s been consistent now for us these last 10 days; he’s done a terrific job,” said Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles.

“He’s just had better balance at the plate, he’s getting pitches to drive, and he’s just working some counts now.”

Hernandez (2-2, 2.11 ERA) hadn’t thrown more than 52/3 innings in any start this season, but he cruised six innings on 74 pitches before finally running into trouble with two outs in the seventh.

Trenton catcher Jose Gil’s second home run of the year, a two-run shot to left, cut the lead in half. Jose Toussen then ended Hernandez’s evening with a double down the right-field line, but Aaron Kurcz ended the rally by getting Addison Maruszak to strike out.

“I got a little fatigued,” Hernandez said. “They hit some bloopers that got in, and then obviously they put a good swing on the cutter that they hit for the home run, but other than that it’s part of the game.

“I went out there feeling good, feeling confident and feeling good in my stuff, and that’s just the way it turned out.”

The Sea Dogs have struggled against the Thunder this season, going 1-6 against their Eastern Division rival while getting outscored 45-24 before Friday’s game. The Sea Dogs’ only previous win came April 10, a 7-1 victory at Trenton’s Waterfront Park that was also their first win of the year.

Kurcz struck out five in 21/3 innings to earn his second save.

NOTES: Butler was replaced at catcher by Matt Spring in the fifth inning after leaving with a leg injury. Boles said he would be re-evaluated today.