PORTLAND – Drake Britton led a superb Sea Dogs pitching effort, and Jackie Bradley Jr. contributed with power and hustle as Portland topped the Akron Aeros 3-0 Thursday afternoon at sold-out Hadlock Field.

It was the Sea Dogs’ second shutout over Akron in three games.

Bradley homered in the first inning, scored in the eighth, and saved a run with an alert play in the outfield.

Britton (3-4) recorded his first scoreless outing since his initial two starts with the Sea Dogs in early June.

Mixing a fastball that reached 95 mph with swing-and-miss curveballs, Britton worked through some jams. He gave up six hits and three walks in five innings, but also recorded seven strikeouts.

“I battled myself all game,” Britton said. “My change-up was off. Sometimes I tried to do too much with my fastball.

“It was a grind, but I feel pleased that I made pitches when I needed to.”

Ryan Pressly added two scoreless innings (two hits) and Josh Fields finished it, allowing one hit over two innings as he recorded his eighth save.

Bradley, who was 1 for 12 in his previous three games, led off in the bottom of the first inning. He sent a 1-1 fastball from T.J. House (6-3) into the right-field pavilion for his fifth home run in 42 games with the Sea Dogs.

“Fastball, middle in,” Bradley said. “That’s where I was looking for it.”

Britton protected that lead with a little help.

In the fourth inning, with Akron’s Thomas Neal on first base, Adam Abraham singled to right field. The ball scooted under Bryce Brentz’s glove. Bradley, sprinting from center field, got the ball and rifled it to second baseman Ryan Dent.

Dent’s throw home beat Neal, and catcher Matt Spring held on after the collision.

“They got the ball in well. Dent threw me a strike,” Spring said. “Then it’s my job to tag him and hold onto the ball.”

Spring later threw out Abraham trying to steal third.

Britton escaped his final jam by himself in the fifth. Two singles and a sacrifice put runners on second and third with one out.

Britton struck out Tyler Holt on a full-count 95 mph fastball. After a walk to load the bases, he struck out Chun Chen looking at a curveball.

“He didn’t have his best command,” Spring said, “but he got himself out of jams. He continued to pitch. He didn’t let down.”

In 11 starts with the Sea Dogs, Britton’s ERA is 4.24, a mark skewed by two bad outings.

House settled down after the first inning, retiring 13 of 14 batters.

In the sixth, Marquez Smith singled and advanced on Jeremy Hazelbaker’s sacrifice. Brentz grounded an infield single up the middle, and shortstop Juan Diaz reached the ball but accidentally kicked it away, allowing Smith to score for a 2-0 lead.

In the eighth, Bradley and Hazelbaker singled, setting up Brentz’s RBI single.

NOTES: Fields (2.62 ERA) has allowed one run in his last 24 1/3 innings. Brentz leads the team with 53 RBI. The announced paid attendance was 7,368. Pitcher Mike MacDonald, who appeared to injure his leg Wednesday, said Thursday that he was fine.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases


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