NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — Big innings continue to hurt the Portland Sea Dogs.

The New Britain Rock Cats scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning Wednesday to erase a three-run deficit, then held on to defeat the Sea Dogs 10-8 before a crowd of 7,598 at New Britain Stadium.

Noel Cuevas delivered the big blow in the inning, a bases-clearing double that gave the Rock Cats a 6-5 lead.

“I think that fifth inning is kind of typical of what we’ve done in the early part of the season,” said Portland Manager Billy McMillon. “We’ve given up big innings. Those five runs took a lot of wind out us.”

Trailing 10-5, the Sea Dogs did make things interesting with three runs in the ninth on a two-run single by Carlos Asuaje and a run-scoring double by Luis Martinez.

Portland, which built early leads of 3-0 and 5-2, brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth, but Austin House got Oscar Tejeda on a grounder to third to close out the victory.

“I like the fact the guys didn’t give in after we gave up a lead, but we have to continue to work on minimizing innings where they score three, four, five runs,” McMillon said.

The Sea Dogs dropped to 5-8 after completing a 2-5 trip.

They hope to get things turned around on Thursday when they begin a seven-game homestand against the Trenton Thunder, who took 3 of 4 from the Sea Dogs in New Jersey last weekend.

“It’s still early,” Asuaje said. “We’re still getting to know each other as teammates. Pitchers are going to learn hitters and we’re going to get used to the league.”

The Sea Dogs pounded out 15 hits and put together a series of strong at-bats against New Britain starter Shane Carle (3-0), reaching him for nine hits in the first four innings.

Portland finished with six extra-base hits, including a solo home run by David Chester and a pair of RBI doubles by Blake Tekotte.

The Sea Dogs grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second on Chester’s homer, Reed Gragnani’s RBI single and Tekotte’s double.

After the Rock Cats closed within 3-2 in the third, Portland regained its three-run margin in the fourth on Jonathan Roof’s RBI single and Tekotte’s second double.

“As long as we just keep plugging away, we know what we can do,” Tekotte said. “We can score some runs, especially with our lineup.”

But the Rock Cats got to Portland starter Luis Diaz (0-1) in the fifth, which started when right fielder Roof dropped Mike Tauchman’s fly ball for a three-base error.

The miscue hurt, but Diaz allowed the next three batters to reach, loading the bases.

Tyler Massey’s RBI single pulled the Rock Cats within 5-3 before Cuevas’ bases-clearing double. Jason Langfels capped the uprising with a sacrifice fly.

“Even after that error, we gave up three hits that inning, so we didn’t help ourselves to minimize the damage,” McMillon said.

The Rock Cats extended their lead to 10-5 in the eighth on Will Swanner’s leadoff homer and Trevor Story’s two-run single.