Fresh off being named Eastern League Player of the Month for July, Daniel McGrath is proving he still has his stuff in August.

The left-hander improved to 5-0 as the Portland Sea Dogs defeated the Akron RubberDucks 3-2 on Sunday at Hadlock Field.

The Sea Dogs took 2 of 3 against Akron and completed a 4-2 homestand. They improved to 26-24 in the second half of the season and are in second place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division. Reading leads the division by five games.

Portland must win the second-half division title to reach the playoffs.

McGrath, 25, allowed two runs, one earned, in six innings. He surrendered four hits, striking out seven and walking four. His ERA in 93 innings with Portland this season is 1.35.

“He’s winning the grinds. It’s not going to be perfect every time and you’re going to struggle with command, but you’ve got to win those grinds,” said Portland pitching coach Paul Abbott.

McGrath struggled with command early, walking the bases loaded in the first inning before striking out Andruw Monasterio to end the threat.

“He could have given in and given up a hit, but he stuck with it,” said Abbott. “He has a tendency to try to make his (secondary pitches) better than they have to be, but he really doesn’t need to.”

The Sea Dogs scored in the second inning when Luke Tendler reached on a single, stole second, then came around on an errant pickoff attempt by Akron starter Adam Scott.

McGrath alternated his tough curveball and change-up with a 89 mph fastball to retire five consecutive batters before surrendering a two-out double to Trenton Brooks in the third. He then gave up an RBI single to Connor Marabell that made it 1-1.

The Sea Dogs reclaimed the lead in the fourth when Marcus Wilson crushed a leadoff, first-pitch homer 400 feet to center.

But Akron tied the game again in the fifth. After Brooks was picked off but eluded a rundown tag to reach second, Marabell singled him in.

Portland scored the final run of the game in the sixth. Jarren Duran reached on a throwing error by third baseman Nolan Jones and added his 23rd stolen base to move into scoring position.

With one out, C.J. Chatham drove a 3-2 pitch to the left-center gap to score Duran.

“It was the best pitch I saw all day,” said Chatham. “I kind of hung up there and I was getting nervous, but it worked out.”

Adam Lau retired six straight RubberDucks in the seventh and eight innings, and Jordan Weems added a scoreless ninth to record his seventh save.

“You’d like to say that you have a tight focus every time, but with a one-run lead you really have to make sure you’re hitting your spots,” said Lau. “Really just trying to focus on the details there.”

After an off day Monday, the Sea Dogs will begin a seven-game, six-day trip Tuesday night against the Hartford Yard Goats.

They will return to Portland to open a three-game set Aug. 19 against Reading.

NOTES: The paid attendance was 7,085. Sunday was Military Appreciation Day at Hadlock, and the Sea Dogs honored active duty members and veterans from the Summit Project, Wounded Warriors and American Legion in a pregame ceremony.


Comments are not available on this story.