There are reasons the Trenton Thunder are the class of the Eastern League with a 64-31 record. They have talent and know how to win.

The Portland Sea Dogs outhit Trenton 11-10 on Wednesday at Hadlock Field, but Trenton had the key hits, played the better defense and commanded its pitches better in a 9-4 victory.

The Thunder scored four runs in the third inning, including a Zach Zehner three-run homer off losing pitcher Trey Ball (3-9). All the runs were unearned because of a dropped foul popup by catcher Jordan Procyshen that would have kept the Thunder scoreless in the inning.

“That was the key of the game,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said.

The inning also marked the end of Ball’s outing.

“We had a pitch limit – 36 pitches in that inning – 75 to that point,” Febles said. “It didn’t make sense to send him out and risk injury.”

In the fifth, Trenton took advantage of two walks, scoring three runs with two outs on an RBI single and Dante Bichette Jr.’s two-run triple. Portland walked five batters and three of them scored.

Billy Fleming’s two-run triple in the ninth completed Trenton’s scoring.

Jeremy Barfield homered for the Sea Dogs, his 10th in 49 games. He swatted a down-the-middle fastball from Zach Littrell (5-0) in the fourth.

Nick Lovullo went 3 for 4 with an RBI. Lovullo, son of Diamondbacks Manager (and former Red Sox bench coach) Torey Lovullo, is batting .333 after five Double-A games.

“He’s taking advantage of the opportunity he’s getting and is swinging the bat very well,” Febles said.

Cole Sturgeon singled twice with one RBI for Portland (43-50). Mike Olt added an RBI double.

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 6,557. … After the game, the Sea Dogs’ players and staff enjoyed their annual lobster bake in Kennebunkport Beach. … The Sea Dogs return to Hadlock Field at 7 p.m. Thursday to play the Hartford Yard Goats. The popular Zooperstars comedic characters will perform. … The effect of the recent, lengthy Boston Red Sox games finally became apparent at Triple-A Pawtucket. The PawSox sent up pitchers Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez to pitch in Boston on Tuesday and, on Wednesday, they sent up relievers Ben Taylor and Kyle Martin. That left Pawtucket with a thin staff, requiring infielder Mike Miller to pitch the eighth and ninth innings in a 7-3 loss to Toledo. Miller allowed three runs on five hits. … Rafael Devers hit his second Triple-A home run in five days. … During Tuesday night’s game at Hadlock Field, Tito Polo played left field for Trenton even though he was traded later that night in the Yankees’ deal to obtain Todd Frazier and two relievers from the White Sox. Normally players involved in trades are taken out of games to prevent injury, but Trenton Manager Bobby Mitchell said he hadn’t heard from the Yankees. It wasn’t until Polo got back to his hotel that Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman called him with the news.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: @ClearTheBases