NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — Jose Berrios earned his first Double-A win and Kennys Vargas hit a grand slam as the New Britain Rock Cats beat the Portland Sea Dogs 7-1 on Thursday night in the series opener at New Britain Stadium.
Berrios (1-2) was sensational in his home debut, tossing seven strong innings on three hits, no walks and four strikeouts for the Rock Cats (51-52). The right-hander beat Henry Owens (13-4), who had his nine-game winning streak snapped.
Cole Johnson and Berrios closed out the victory by retiring the final 18 batters faced.
Owens almost escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third inning, but with two outs, Vargas cleared the left-field wall on a 1-2 pitch for a grand slam, giving the Cats a 4-0 lead. Vargas finished 3-for-3 with two walks.
Owens faced eight batters in the inning, yielding three hits and two walks. The left-hander lasted just four innings, suffering his first loss since May 19 against Binghamton at Hadlock Field.
Portland (66-39) scored its lone run against Berrios in the fourth. Blake Swihart led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout by Michael Almanzar. Berrios retired the final 12 batters faced, and induced two double plays in the first two innings.
New Britain added a run in the fourth. With two outs, Aaron Hicks nailed a run-scoring single. Owens yielded five runs, five hits, four walks and struck out six over four innings. The runs were the most allowed since April 27 vs. Trenton.
Jeremy Kehrt worked three innings for Portland, giving two runs on sacrifice flies by Hicks and Brad Boyer.