PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Sea Dogs rode the left arm of Henry Owens and the hot bats of the offense to an 8-2 victory over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Thursday night at Hadlock Field. The win marked the eighth in 12 games at home for the Sea Dogs (20-11).
Owens took the mound and set the tone for the series in a big way. The lefty moved through New Hampshire’s order with ease, picking up four strikeouts over the first two frames.
After issuing his second walk of the night with one out in the third, Owens (4-2) settled into a groove and retired the next eight in order. Jonathan Jones broke up that stretch with his second walk drawn of the night, but Owens rebounded and sat down the next six in order.
He went back out for the eighth inning, with no hits on his line, and walked the first two batters. Jones followed with a sharp ground ball that hit Owens, but was retired when the pitcher tossed to first for the out. With runners at second and third, Jon Berti knocked home a run with an RBI groundout to short.
Andy Burns was next and connected with a 2-2 pitch down the line in left for a double that scored Brian Van Kirk and made it 8-2 Portland. The double marked the first hit against Owens in 23 outs and ended the lefty’s night on the mound. The seven and two-third innings pitched tied a career-high for Owens and he left in line for the win. Miguel Celestino came in from the pen and got the final four outs to seal the Portland victory.
The evening started out as billed, a pitcher’s duel. New Hampshire’s Aaron Sanchez retired the first eight in order, but was the first to falter in the third. With two down in the inning Shannon Wilkerson worked a walk and became the first Portland base runner.
Mookie Betts was next and followed with a single to right. Not only was the hit the first for Portland, but it also extended his on-base streak to 60 straight games, 65 including playoffs. Sanchez (1-2) walked Marrero to load the bases for Travis Shaw. The designated hitter crushed a 3-1 pitch into the right-center field gap for a bases clearing double and put the Sea Dogs up 3-0.
The trouble continued for the Fisher Cats as they went to the bullpen in the fourth. John Anderson was the first arm out of the pen and Portland tagged him for a pair of runs in each of the next two frames.