Minor league managers rarely call postgame meetings, but Joe Oliver of the Portland Sea Dogs gathered his players in the clubhouse after a 3-0 loss to the Hartford Yard Goats Wednesday night at Hadlock Field.

“It wasn’t really a butt-chewing session. Just a truth session,” Oliver said. “We’re playing tight. There’s a reason we’re here. Just go out and relax and have fun.”

Portland got a solid start from Dedgar Jimenez (0-1) but squandered several chances, leaving nine on base. The Sea Dogs dropped the rubber game of the series and fell to 4-11. Hartford is 10-10.

“I honestly didn’t think we’d be 4-11. I thought we’d be 11-4,” said Oliver, in his first year as Portland’s manager. “We’re playing not to lose, playing too conservative, putting too much pressure on ourselves.

“I mean, this is April. It’s not September. It’s not October. This is a time to feel comfortable and enjoy the process.”

Jimenez put in his best start – six innings, three hits, one run, two walks and six strikeouts. In his first two starts, Jimenez allowed eight earned runs over 3 1/3 innings.

On Wednesday, Jimenez allowed only two baserunners through five innings, although one was Vince Fernandez’s solo home run.

“He was finishing pitches better, being more aggressive,” Sea Dogs pitching coach Paul Abbott said. “He incorporated his change-up more. He had 5-6 swing-and-misses on his change-up and that was the difference-maker.”

Jimenez, a lefty with an 89 mph fastball and low 80’s slider, made one mistake – a hanging slider in the second inning to Fernandez.

“It was a get-me-over slider and I happened to be on time with it,” said Fernandez, who also struck out and walked against Jimenez. “He was working the plate well. Elevated his fastball and getting weak contact.”

Jimenez retired 11 straight at one point. He allowed a single and two walks in the sixth but got out of the jam. Still, Jimenez received no support from the offense.

• Fourth inning: The Sea Dogs had bases loaded and one out. Jake Romanski grounded into a double play.

• Fifth inning: first and third with one out. Brett Netzer grounded into a double play.

• Sixth inning: Bases loaded again with one out. Portland grounded into two fielder’s choice outs.

“Hate to waste a great outing by Jimenez,” Oliver said. “We’re not scoring when we have opportunities.”

Two errors – third baseman Bobby Dalbec fielding, and Romanski throwing – contributed to two unearned runs in the eighth.

The Sea Dogs embark on a seven-day trip and return to Hadlock May 2.

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 2,392 … Among the roster moves earlier Wednesday was the return of pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez, infielder Nick Lovullo and Romanski, a catcher. Hernandez came back from Boston, where he made his major league debut Tuesday night (2 1/3 innings, no runs, four strikeouts). Hernandez is scheduled to start Sunday’s game in Binghamton … Lovullo and Romanski came down from Triple-A Pawtucket … Reliever Matt Gorst and catcher Oscar Hernandez were sent to Pawtucket. Infielder Jonathan Ortega returned to advanced Class A Salem … In Triple-A, former Sea Dogs pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz made his first start Wednesday (six innings, three runs), in a 3-1 loss … Elsewhere in the Eastern League, the Bowie Baysox were no-hit for the second time this month. Two Erie Seawolves pitchers blanked Bowie Wednesday. Erie starter Alex Faedo, the Tigers’ first-round draft pick in 2017, pitched seven innings. The Baysox were also no-hit on April 11, against Harrisburg.

Kevin Thomas – 791-6411

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