Close games have not been kind to the Portland Sea Dogs this season; they were 10-22 in one-run games entering Friday night.

So, as the Sea Dogs and Harrisburg Senators moved into the later innings tied 2-2, the odds were not in Portland’s favor.

But Tate Matheny, Jeremy Rivera and Dedgar Jimenez took care of matters in a 3-2 Portland win over the Harrisburg Senators, before 5,546 at Hadlock Field.

Matheny led off the eighth with a double and scored on Rivera’s clutch, opposite-field single down the left-field line.

Jimenez (4-4) continues his adjustment as a reliever, retiring all eight batters, five by strikeout. This was his fifth relief appearance after nearly six seasons as a starter.

“I used to be a reliever in the winter leagues in Venezuela, so I know how,” Jimenez said. “Just attack the zone with the fastball and mix it up.”

With one out to go, Portland Manager Joe Oliver pulled Jimenez in favor of Kevin Lenik, the hard-throwing right-hander, shooting for his second save.

“Wanted to put a guy in there we felt could close the game out,” Oliver said. “I wanted to give Lenik a shot.”

Lenik delivered, striking out pinch-hitter Drew Ward.

Bobby Dalbec tied the game with a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Dalbec swatted a slider for his league-leading 20th home run (106 mph off the bat, an estimated 418 feet to left-center).

Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision.

Portland lefty Matthew Kent looked overmatched early, allowing six hits and two runs (one earned) in the first three innings. But Kent, with his array of deceptive pitches off his 87 mph fastball, made adjustments. He did not give up a hit or run in his next three innings, lowering his ERA to 2.84.

“Smoke and mirrors and he gets you into the seventh inning, with a chance to win the ballgame,” Oliver said.

Conversely, Harrisburg starter Kyle McGowin was perfect through three innings with six strikeouts. McGowin had been bouncing between Washington and Triple-A. He relieved for the Nationals last Sunday (two runs over one inning) and was then sent to Double-A.

Jarren Duran broke up the perfect game with a well-placed bunt single toward the second baseman. With one-out, Dalbec stepped up and tied the game.

McGowin lasted five innings (three hits, two runs, no walks and seven strikeouts).

In the bottom of the eighth, Matheny smacked a pitch from reliever Bryan Bonnell (2-2) to right-center for his 15th double. Jhon Nunez sacrificed Matheny to third and Rivera singled.

“It was a slider outside and I just tried to put it in play,” Rivera said.

NOTES: Duran stole his 15th base with the Sea Dogs and has 33 total, counting his time with advanced Class A Salem … Former Sea Dogs infielder Ryan Court, 31, received his first call to the big leagues when the Seattle Mariners promoted him from Triple-A on Friday. Court played in Portland in 2016, and in Triple-A Pawtucket in 2017 … Pitcher Hunter Smith, who made one relief appearance with the Sea Dogs this season, was released Friday by the Red Sox. Smith, 25, a 24th-round draft pick in 2016, had a 5.87 ERA in Salem … There will be fireworks after Saturday’s 6 p.m. game.


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