Having compiled a season-high four-game winning streak, the Portland Sea Dogs entered Friday night’s game with optimism.

But scoring only one run will stop the momentum.

The Binghamton Rumble Ponies contained the Sea Dogs in a 5-1 win at Hadlock Field.

Binghamton (15-17) had 12 hits, including a 3-for-5 night by Tim Tebow, the former NFL quarterback. The big hit belonged to Jeff McNeil, who drove in three runs with an eighth-inning double, giving the Ponies a 5-0 lead.

Portland (11-20) scored in the eighth on an RBI triple from Chad De La Guerra. The ball was drilled to the right field corner. De La Guerra went for a home run and was thrown out.

The game began with two starting pitchers who were coming off the disabled list – Binghamton right-hander Andrew Church and Sea Dogs lefty Kyle Hart.

For a couple of guys who had been shelved for at least 10 days, they did all right.

Church (1-4) was better, shutting out the Sea Dogs for 61/3 innings. A second-round draft choice of the Mets in 2013, Church allowed four hits and one walk, striking out six.

“He attacked the strike zone. Went after hitters and did a really nice job,” said Binghamton pitching coach Frank Viola, the former major leaguer who pitched three seasons in Boston.

Church came in with a 6.92 ERA and off an 11-day break because of “general soreness.” Church mixed his low-90s fastball with his off-speed pitches.

“He did a very nice job of adding and subtracting, keeping the hitters off-stride” Viola said. “And he did a nice job with strike one, which was tough today because that was a tight strike zone.”

Sea Dogs pitching coach Paul Abbott would agree. At one point, he visited Hart on the mound and waited for home plate umpire Mike Savakinas to come out. They had a lengthy conversation.

Hart (1-3) was around the plate but issued five walks and hit a batter. He minimized the damaged – helped by three double plays – and gave up only one run on five hits in six innings. He struck out five.

“He was very effective, having to deal with that strike zone,” Abbott said. “He didn’t give in, kept his composure and competed until his last pitch.”

Hart, a 19th-round draft pick in 2016 out of Indiana, had not pitched since May 1, when he took a line drive off his arm. Hart finished his outing on Friday with a 1-2-3 sixth, striking out two.

The fifth inning was costly as the first four batters reached – single, hit batter and two walks – for the game’s first run. Hart then escaped with a strikeout and double-play grounder.

Reliever Trey Ball gave up a run in the seventh (hit batter and two singles), and then McNeil’s double in the eighth.

Jordan Weems, the former Sea Dogs catcher, made his relief debut at Hadlock Field with a scoreless ninth. He ended it by striking out Tebow, who also had three singles and a groundout.

NOTES: To make room for Hart on the roster, reliever Yankory Pimentel was sent to Class A Salem. Pimentel had allowed 14 earned runs in 121/3 innings.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-7411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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