PORTLAND – Matt Spring is known for his catching and his character. He is someone a team wants working with its pitchers, while keeping everyone loose in the clubhouse.

The bat has been a bonus these days.

Spring hit a two-out, three-run double off the left field wall in the seventh inning to give the Portland Sea Dogs a 5-3 comeback win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Tuesday night at Hadlock Field.

The other big hit came on Michael Almanzar’s eighth home run, a two-run blast in the first inning.

Keith Couch (2-1) pitched three hitless relief innings for the win. Brock Huntzinger pitched a one-hit ninth for his ninth save.

Sea Dogs starter Brandon Workman did not have his best command and pitched five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out six. Workman left after giving up a lead-off double in the sixth.

Spring came up with bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Portland down 3-2. He worked a full count against reliever Tyson Brummet.

“Obviously I’m looking for a fastball, to put something in play,” Spring said.

He did.

Spring, 28, a backup catcher who was not activated at the start of the season, has played only 12 games, but is batting .304 with 17 RBI (and five home runs). He enjoyed a walk-off grand slam last week.

“The at-bats have been spotty, but he keeps himself ready,” said Sea Dogs manager Kevin Boles, who values Spring in several ways.

“The leadership quality in the clubhouse. He’s loose, relaxed, upbeat. He’s a leader. And the pitchers love throwing to him.”

When Spring was in the Rays organization, he was often moved around to catch Tampa Bay’s best prospects, like David Price, Alex Cobb and Matt Moore.

In his third season with the Red Sox, Spring makes the best use of his playing time.

“Just try to do my best. I’m not trying to be anything I’m not,” Spring said. “Just having fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re wasting your time.”

NOTES: Outfield Peter Hissey went on the disabled list with a strained right groin muscle. Outfielder Matty Johnson was called up from Salem and played right field Tuesday night. He was 1 for 4.

Tuesday’s announced paid attendance was 2,415.

Red Sox left-hander Franklin Morales will make his second rehab start for the Sea Dogs Thursday in their 11 a.m. game. Morales, coming back from a lower-back strain has also pitched for Pawtucket (twice) and Salem while on the disabled list. Thursday’s scheduled starter, Anthony Ranaudo, will now pitch Friday in Binghamton.

Tickets go on sale today at noon online (www.redsox.com) for the Sea Dogs’ game at Fenway Park on July 27.

Reliever Daniel Bard has not appeared in a game since walking five of eight batters on May 15. He keeps working in the bullpen. Boles said there is no timetable for his return to game action.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases


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