One minute, Tate Matheny was launching one over the left-field wall. The next, he nearly crashed through it.

Matheny has always been a fearless fielder. His hitting has been streaky, but it came through Tuesday. His three-run homer helped propel the Portland Sea Dogs to a 7-2 win in the first game of a doubleheader at Hadlock Field.

The Sea Dogs made it a sweep with a 1-0 win in Game 2. Matheny knocked in the only run – although not credited with an RBI because he grounded into a 6-4-3 bases-loaded double play in the fourth inning. Denyi Reyes (6-9) pitched a three-hitter over six innings. Kevin Lenik recorded his first save with a hitless seventh.

Jarren Duran enjoyed a 4-for-6 night for both games. Bobby Dalbec doubled twice in the first game.

Matheny’s first-game blast (385 feet) capped a five-run fifth inning, as Portland broke a 2-2 tie.

It was Matheny’s eighth home run in a valleys-and-hills season. Matheny, 25, in his second year in Portland, scuffled for six weeks, batting .168. He got hot and raised that average to .254 by mid-June. But July has not been kind, and the average sunk to .227.

“I struggled the last few weeks. Getting a little tired. I had to make a couple adjustments to get my swing right and get my mind right,” Matheny said. “I think I’m starting to get the feel back for my swing, and get that confidence back.”

In the doubleheader, Matheny also doubled, making him 6 for 16 in his last five games.

“He went through a little lull there and seems to have made some corrections in the right direction,” Sea Dogs Manager Joe Oliver said.

One aspect of Matheny’s game is his fielding.

“He definitely goes all out running balls down,” Oliver said.

Matheny is a center fielder but, with the recent additions of Duran and Marcus Wilson, Matheny has moved around the outfield. He played left, in front of Hadlock’s “Maine Monster,” in Game 1. In the sixth inning, Matheny preserved Eduard Bazardo’s perfect relief outing by charging toward the wall and leaping into it to snag a line drive.

“(The wall) sneaks up on you. It’s closer than the rest of them,” Matheny said. “Just one of those plays where I didn’t have a choice but to jump up and take it.”

Bazardo (2-1) got the win, retiring all four batters he faced. He had relieved starter Konner Wade. After throwing 4 2/3 scoreless innings, Wade allowed three straight hits, including Tyler Nevin’s two-run double, tying the game.

Duran led off the bottom of the fifth with a drag-bunt single. C.J. Chatham singled, and Dalbec doubled in a run. Joey Curletta singled in Chatham, and Matheny followed with his homer.

In Game 2, Reyes had his second straight scoreless outing and lowered his ERA to 3.81. He walked one and struck out four.

After allowing a leadoff bloop single in the seventh, Reyes left. Lenik went 1-2-3 – a sacrifice bunt, and flyouts to center (charging, sliding catch by Duran) and to left.

Portland improved to 16-17 in the second half. Hartford dropped to 14-18.

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 5,430 … Robinson Leyer pitched the final inning of Game 1, showing off his 98 mph fastball, striking out three and walking one. Leyer, 26, signed with the Red Sox last month after being released by the Mariners organization. He has pitched mostly in Double-A the previous four years.


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