HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Mike Miller’s solo home run in the top of the ninth powered the Portland Sea Dogs past the Harrisburg Senators 1-0 Thursday night in the series finale from Metro Bank Park. The win marked the sixth victory in a row for the Sea Dogs, as they swept their second straight series.
Derek Self was called upon by Senators’ manager Brian Daubach to pitch the top of the ninth, ending Paolo Espino’s stellar night on the mound. Miller was set to lead off the inning for Portland and crushed a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right for a solo home run, his first Double-A blast, and Portland held the 1-0 lead.
Mike McCarthy pitched a perfect eighth, in relief of Eduardo Rodriguez, and trotted back out to the mound for the ninth. The righty induced a groundout and a weak popout, before striking out Quincy Latimore to end the game.
McCarthy (10-4) took home the victory with his two perfect innings and Self (2-3) was charged with the loss.
The win sends the Sea Dogs to 31-games above .500, at 81-50, for the first time all season and the first time since Aug. 27, 1995 when they were 83-52 as a Marlins affiliate.
The left-handed Rodriguez weaved his way through the first two innings, allowing a base runner in each, but was helped out by two double plays, one of the 5-4-3 variety and the other of the 4-6-3 fashion.
Rodriguez pitched around a leadoff hit in the third and gave Harrisburg its best opportunity to score in the fourth. Kevin Keyes hit a double and Jason Martinson walked with two outs, but the lefty shut the door and induced a groundout to second off the bat of former Sea Dog Oscar Tejeda.
On the other side of the hill it was Paolo Espino matching him zero for zero on the scoreboard. The veteran righty retired the first 11 men he faced before Sean Coyle and Keury De La Cruz walked with two outs in the fourth, but the Sea Dogs could do no more.
Espino had all four pitches working and was no-hitting Portland over the first 5 2/3 innings, until Kevin Heller broke up the bid with a line drive single to center. Miller had the second hit for the Sea Dogs in the form of a double in the sixth, but that was all the damage done.
The two continued to deal in the series finale, both pitching into the late innings. Rodriguez’s night finished after seven scoreless innings, in which he gave up five hits, two walks, and struck out five. Espino went eight shutout frames and gave up a pair of hits, walked two, and struck out 11.
Sean Coyle led the charge defensively for Portland with numerous diving stops, which set the tone, along with four double plays.