AKRON, Ohio — The Portland Sea Dogs got another strong outing from a lefty and used three home runs to sink the Akron RubberDucks 8-0 in the finale of the three-game series, Sunday afternoon at Canal Park.
Left-hander Brian Johnson picked up right where Henry Owens left off on Saturday night and silenced the RubberDucks offense over his six-inning outing.
Johnson (5-1) retired the side in order on six pitches in the first, and pitched around a leadoff single in the second. Akron (40-3) had its best chance against the starter in the third when it had runners at second and third with one out. The lefty slammed the door with back-to-back strikeouts — one swinging, one looking — to retire the side.
Keury De La Cruz provided the pop and put the Sea Dogs (44-23) in front 1-0, with a solo home run, his first in Double-A, on the first pitch he saw from Cody Anderson in the second inning. The left fielder continued his display of power with a two-run shot, against Anderson (2-5), in the fourth inning, which upped the Portland lead to 3-0.
Johnson pitched a quick fourth, striking out two, and worked around a one-out single in the fifth, before he took the mound for his sixth and final frame. He retired the first two in order, walked Alex Lavisky, and induced a groundout to third for the final out. In total he went six scoreless innings, gave up four hits, walked one and struck out five.
The Sea Dogs offense powered up for four more runs in the seventh. Heiker Meneses began the rally with a single and moved to third after a throwing error on the catcher when he stole second. Derrik Gibson followed with an RBI double and Jonathan Roof walked against Jordan Cooper before Louis Head was summoned from the bullpen.
The righty got his first man, Blake Swihart, to fly to center, but gave up a three-run home run to the clean-up hitter Sean Coyle, which increased the Portland lead to 7-0. Mike Brenly capped off the scoring with a sacrifice fly to left in the ninth that scored Coyle.
The Portland bullpen locked up the win with three scoreless innings tossed by Michael Olmsted, Matty Ott, and Aaron Kurcz sending the squad to 21-games above .500 for the first time this season.