This new schedule format for the Eastern League has the Portland Sea Dogs contending for a playoff spot.

Portland topped the Akron RubberDucks 5-4 on Friday night at Hadlock Field, improving to 25-23 in the second half of the schedule.

The new playoff format pits the first-half division winner against the second-half winner. The Sea Dogs moved within four games of the Reading Fightin Phils (30-20), who lost 1-0 to Altoona on Friday night.

In the old format – with the first- and second-place teams in the division meeting in the postseason – the Sea Dogs (52-63 overall) would be 9 /2 games out of a playoff spot.

Now a playoff spot has become a possibility.

The Sea Dogs didn’t look in position to make a move Friday. Starter Denyi Reyes (7-9) struggled early and Akron took a 4-1 lead in the top of the third inning.

But Reyes recovered and Portland rallied.

Marcus Wilson hit a solo home run and doubled twice, scoring three runs. Brett Netzer also had three hits, with a double and RBI.

Luke Tendler and Joey Curletta both recorded two hits and one RBI. Austin Rei singled in a run.

Reyes put in an impressive outing despite giving up four runs.

In the first, Reyes breezed to a 1-2-3 inning while needing just six pitches.

His second inning required 34 pitches. After giving up a leadoff home run to Nellie Rodriguez, Reyes retired two hitters before yielding two doubles, a single and a walk. Akron led 3-1 with two runners on. Reyes then went to a full count on Nolan Jones before striking him out.

Another two-out run in the fourth, on Alexis Pantoja’s RBI double, made it 4-1.

But Reyes remained composed and kept Portland in the game. Even after a 37-minute weather delay in the fourth inning, Reyes came out. Friday marked his 14th straight outing of at least six innings.

Wilson closed it to 4-2 with his fifth home run of the season.

Wilson, the speedy outfielder obtained from Arizona in the Blake Swihart deal, is enjoying his second stint with the Sea Dogs. After the trade, Wilson came to Portland and batted .161 with one double and one home run in 19 games before being sent to Class A. Wilson returned July 14. Since then he’s batting .297 with nine doubles and four home runs.

In the fourth inning, Michael Osinski tripled, then scored on Netzer’s single, closing the score to 4-3.

Portland tied it in the fifth on doubles by Wilson and Curletta.

The Sea Dogs’ slow comeback was completed in the sixth when Netzer doubled, then scored on Rei’s single.

Eduard Bazardo relieved and had two scoreless innings for the Sea Dogs.

Dedgar Jimenez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, including one strikeout, for his fifth save in five save chances. Since Jimenez moved to the bullpen, he has a 2.95 ERA in 10 outings for Portland.

Akron dropped to 19-29 in the second half, 53-64 overall.

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 6,282. … In Triple-A, the recently promoted Bobby Dalbec went 3 for 4 with a double and his first Pawtucket home run. Dalbec is batting .391 in his first six Triple-A games.