MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Portland Sea Dogs used a two-run home run by Blake Swihart to break a tie in the sixth and held on to win 6-3 over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Monday afternoon at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
The win clinched another series victory for Portland and improved their record to 6-2 against New Hampshire.
Scott Copeland worked into the sixth for the Fisher Cats, but was greeted by a Matt Spring double, which put a runner in scoring position for Swihart. The Portland DH took a fastball from the starter, over the inner-half, and crushed it to right-center for a two-run homer, which gave Portland the 5-3 lead. The blast was the fifth of the season and first from the left side for Swihart.
Steven Wright (1-0) was the benefactor of the home run as he completed his MLB rehab assignment in the bottom of the fifth. Keith Couch took over for the starter in the sixth and retired the first six men he faced.
Portland tacked on its sixth and final run on a wild pitch from Austin Bibens-Dirkx in the top of the ninth and upped its lead to three for Couch in the bottom of the inning.
He dismissed the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, locked down the win for Wright and his first Double-A save. He finished the final four frames, allowed one hit and struck out one all on 39 pitches, 28 of which were strikes.
Both teams shared identical line scores over the first three innings as each plated a run in the second and two in the third. Portland jumped out to the early lead on a Mike Brenly RBI single in the second, but Andy Burns responded with a solo shot to center, which tied it.
Stefan Welch led off the third inning with a triple off of Copeland and scored when Spring followed with a double down the left-field line. Swihart was next and doubled home Spring to give the Sea Dogs the 3-1 lead.
Pierce Ranking reached on a single to begin the third for New Hampshire against Wright and the Sea Dogs. He moved to second on a passed ball and came around to score on consecutive groundouts to second. Wright walked Jon Berti and gave up a single to center off the bat of Ryan Schimpf on which Berti scored to tie the game.
Wright, the knuckleballer, pitched well in his first outing since September 2013 and worked five innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits, a walk and four strikeouts. He improved to 1-1 in his career with the Sea Dogs, after his first start, a loss, coming Aug. 5, 2012 vs. Akron.