Everything had been going right for the Portland Sea Dogs during an eight-game winning streak that saw them take command in the Eastern League playoff race.

On a dank, dreary Tuesday, they were reminded what it looks like when the opposite is true.

The Binghamton Rumble Ponies used a strong pitching effort by Jose Chacin and three-run home runs from Wyatt Young and Nic Gaddis to end the winning streak with a 10-2 win at Hadlock Field.

“It’s hard to win eight games in a row to begin with, and things happen,” Portland Manager Chad Epperson said. “We weren’t able to get out in our normal routine today, weather kind of brings you down a little bit, there’s low energy. But we’ve got to be better.”

The winning streak was part of 10 wins in 11 games for the Sea Dogs (66-61, 36-22 second half), who went from a half-game behind Somerset for first place in the Eastern League Northeast Division to a 2 1/2-game lead over the Patriots in the second-half standings. During the surge, Portland outscored opponents 65-25, and topped six runs six times.

The Sea Dogs have 11 games remaining, the last six at Somerset.


“We’ve done a really good job of getting ahead of hitters on the mound. We’re getting better at competing in the box and getting some timely hitting,” Epperson said. “We put some crooked numbers up in a lot of innings. It wasn’t like we were winning by one run.”

There was a role reversal Tuesday, however. The struggling Rumble Ponies (51-74, 23-33 second half) controlled the game on a drizzly evening that kept all but 3,125 announced fans away. Binghamton jumped ahead early, getting a run in the first inning when Young grounded a single through the hole between first and second base and scored on Luke Ritter’s single to right field.

The heavy damage, though, came in the fourth, an inning from which the Sea Dogs came inches away from emerging unscathed. Rowdey Jordan grounded a one-out single up the middle, and was running when Hayden Senger hit a ball back to the mound. Starter Sterling Sharp made a nice snag of the sharp grounder and threw to second baseman David Hamilton, who then went to first to get Senger.

It would have been an inning-ending double play, but Hamilton was pulled off the base, leaving Jordan at second with two outs.  Jeremy Vasquez hit a double to right-center field, scoring Jordan, and after a walk chased Sharp and brought Dylan Spacke into the game, Young greeted him by slamming a three-run homer to right field for a 5-0 lead.

“Sharp made a very athletic play, turning around and spinning. It was just maybe a little high and out of reach,” Epperson said. “But looking back, those plays I’ll take. Those are athletic plays.”

Portland scored in the fifth when Alex Binelas hit a one-out double and Izzy Wilson followed with a double deep into the right-center field to make it 5-1, but Chacin (seven innings, six hits, seven strikeouts) limited the damage. Binghamton made it 9-1 in a four-run eighth, the big blow – Gaddis’s three-run home run over the wall beneath the left-center field scoreboard.

Nick Northcutt scored on Ceddanne Rafaela’s sacrifice fly in the eighth. Jordan answered with a solo home run in the ninth.

“We still control our destiny. We know what we have to do,” Epperson said. “It’s exciting for these guys to be able to show up this time of year with 11 games left and know that they’re playing for something.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.