PORTLAND – A lackluster game Wednesday night looked like it might turn dramatic in the ninth inning.

The Portland Sea Dogs trailed the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 6-2 when Matt Spring led off the ninth with a home run above the left-field wall.

Then Portland put two runners on and with two outs, the much-touted Jackie Bradley Jr. stepped to the plate, representing the tying run.

The left-handed Bradley, already with two hits in the game, faced Aaron Loup, a tough left-hander. On a 1-2 count, Bradley watched a curve break over the plate for strike three, ending the game, a 6-3 victory for New Hampshire.

“Just snuck in there,” Bradley said of the pitch.

The Sea Dogs (31-46) lost their third straight and their 12th loss in the last 16 games. New Hampshire (30-46), in the cellar of the Eastern League East Division, moved within a half-game of Portland.

The Fisher Cats outhit Portland 15-9, but the Sea Dogs had several chances, stranding seven runners (to eight left on base by New Hampshire).

Fisher Cats starter Deck McGuire (3-9) got his first win since May, holding Portland to two runs over six innings.

“We just didn’t come up with the timely hit tonight,” Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. “That was the best we’ve seen McGuire this year.”

The Sea Dogs gave reliever Jeremy Kehrt (2-1) a spot start. He allowed 11 hits and four runs over five innings, striking out six and walking none.

Caleb Clay relieved and gave up two more runs over three innings.

The Sea Dogs led the game in the first inning. Jeremy Hazelbaker doubled, stole third and scored on Bryce Brentz’s sacrifice fly.

But the Fisher Cats got to Kehrt for one in the second and three in the third, for a 4-1 lead.

Portland scored in the sixth on doubles by Bradley and Marquez Smith.

In the ninth inning, Spring crushed a Loup fastball over the left-field wall. It just missed the hole in the Sullivan Tire ad, which would have netted Spring $5,000.

Spring’s fourth home run did close the score to 6-3. Peter Hissey doubled with one out. Ryan Dent followed with a walk. Zach Gentile struck out, bringing Bradley to bat.

Bradley had singed off Loup on Tuesday, but the pitcher won Wednesday’s battle.

The teams will meet again today at 7 p.m.


NOTES: Sea Dogs outfielder Oscar Tejeda, who was taken off the 40-man roster Sunday, was picked up on waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates, placed on their 40-man roster and assigned to Double-A Altoona. Tejeda, 22, came by the clubhouse before Wednesday’s game to say goodbye and clean out his locker. Baseball is a small world, so when news came out that Twins minor league pitcher Paul Bargas died Wednesday of brain cancer, it hit home at Hadlock. Sea Dogs reliever Chris Balcom-Miller played two seasons with Bargas in the Rockies’ farm system. “A good friend and a good teammate,” Balcom-Miller said.

With a 1-2-3 ninth, Portland reliever Brent Huntzinger pitched his seventh scoreless outing in his last 10 appearances (ERA of 2.43). First baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez was initially in the lineup, but then scratched because his bruised and swollen pinky finger had not healed enough. He was put on the disabled list after the game. Greenville first baseman Drew Hedman is expected to be called up today to fill in. Bradley is batting .367 with a .441 on-base percentage. Wednesday’s paid attendance was 4,182. Goodwill Industries will be at Hadlock Field tonight, accepting donations of clothing and household goods.


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

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Twitter: ClearTheBases