MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Portland Sea Dogs ripped three home runs in the first two innings and shortstop Marco Hernandez knocked in four runs in a 7-2 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Tuesday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

The Sea Dogs took the opener of a long season series that has remarkably just begun.

The Dogs played their 71st game – hitting the halfway mark of the season – and broke a three-game losing streak while improving to 27-44. Portland plays the Fisher Cats ( 31-38) the next three nights and 22 more times over the final 71 games.

Sea Dogs starter William Cuevas improved to 7-4 and combined with relievers Mike McCarthy and John Cornely for a five-hitter.

“Good win tonight,” said Portland Manager Billy McMillon. “This is kind of what I hoped we’d play like more often than not. Cuevas goes deep in the ballgame and the bullpen shuts it down. Even though we made two errors, they didn’t hurt us and we came up with some big hits.”

The Sea Dogs jumped in front 4-0 on the three early home runs. Carlos Asuaje’s fourth homer of the year, a solo shot to right-center, started things off with one out in the first.

An out later, David Chester followed with a long solo home run to left field. It was his seventh homer of the year and sixth on the road.

“Two runs in the first is big,” McMillon said. “I think all things factored in, it was really nice to see the guys go out and put up some runs early. Long bus ride last night, couple of tough losses the last couple of days. It was really good to see that.”

Hernandez doubled Portland’s lead with a two-run homer to right-center, his fourth home run of the year, with two outs in the second inning.

The Fisher Cats got two back on an RBI double by Kevin Nolan and an RBI single by Jack Murphy in the fourth.

The Sea Dogs came right back when Chester knocked in Asuaje with a sacrifice fly to center in the fifth inning for a 5-2 lead and Hernandez added a two-run double to right to bump the lead to 7-2 in the sixth.

Portland made the most of its eight hits.

Six walks helped, too.

Hernandez had two of the Sea Dogs’ hits.

Cuevas allowed four of the five New Hampshire hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked two. McCarthy allowed one hit in his two innings and did not walk a batter.

Cornely did not allow a hit, but walked three in his two innings. He got into a bit of a jam when he walked two in the bottom of the ninth around a Hernandez error to load the bases.

But Cornely got Jon Berti to ground out to shortstop to end the game.

“We were able to prevent them from having a real big inning,” McMillon said. “Speaking from experience this year we’ve been behind a lot and sometimes that can be a little demoralizing.

“The pitching staff responded well. The bullpen did another good job tonight. It was just a good team win.”