PORTLAND – It wasn’t all for naught.

Sean McGowan hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Portland Sea Dogs salvaged a doubleheader split with a 4-2 victory over the Trenton Thunder at sold-out Hadlock Field Tuesday night.

Mike Vento’s three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning broke a 3-3 tie as the Thunder took the opener 6-3.

“That game doesn’t have anything to do with the standings or anything else,” Portland manager Ron Johnson said of the nightcap. “Anytime you play that long, you sure as hell don’t want to lose two games. So yeah, it was a real big game for us.”

After Justin Headley singled with one out in the 10th, McGowan drove the first pitch he saw from Charlie Isaacson over the wall in center field to end it.

“We needed an RBI man and he’s got hot at the right time,” Johnson said of McGowan.

Andy Shibilo (1-1) got the win after throwing three perfect innings of relief.

With the split, the Sea Dogs fell into a first-place tie with New Haven, which beat Harrisburg 2-1.

Trenton sits in third place 3 1/2 games back.

Mitch Jones’ Eastern League-leading 17th home run of off James Johnson with one out in the top of the seventh had tied the game.

The Sea Dogs had taken the lead an inning earlier when Justin Sherrod lined a pitch from Trenton’s Rik Currier into left field to score Headley.

Currier, who was making his Double-A debut, had allowed just two hits and retired 16 of 18 before walking Headley.

Trenton’s Kevin Thompson had three hits and wreaked havoc on the basepaths, stealing five bases and scoring four times in the twin bill.

In the opener, Thompson singled twice, stole four bases and scored three times.

“Thompson was the one that controlled that game,” said Johnson. “That’s not odd when you have someone that can run like that.”

Thompson walked leading off the fifth and promptly stole second.

Brian Myrow then walked and after a fly out, Vento drilled a Junior Herndon offering over the wall in dead center field.

Herndon (6-5) suffered the loss after giving up six hits in five innings.

Andy Beal went the distance for the Thunder, allowing five hits while walking three and striking out six.

With the Sea Dogs trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Jeremy Owens drove his 16th home run of the season into the net on top of the left field wall.

Trenton got that run right back in the top of the third when Thompson singled, stole second and scored on Myrow’s base hit.

The Sea Dogs tied the game in the bottom of the third when Sherrod drilled his 13th home run of the season with a man aboard.

But that would be all they would muster against Beal (6-0), who remained perfect at the Double-A level.

“We really didn’t do anything against him,” said Johnson. “We only had five hits and two of them were home runs. That’s not a lot of offense.”

Sea Dogs notes: Kevin Youkilis, who was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after Monday night’s doubleheader, extended his on-base streak to 64 games when he was hit by a pitch in the first game of the PawSox’s doubleheader against Ottawa and singled in the nightcap. Youkilis made a mark on the team record book during his brief time in Portland. His .327 average is the second highest by a Sea Dog, trailing only Kevin Millar, who hit .342 in 1997. Youkilis’ .487 on-base percentage topped the previous mark of .423 (set by Billy McMillon and Millar) by 64 points. His 84 walks put him in a tie for second all-time and 10 behind McMillon’s record for a season….The Sea Dogs four-game series with Binghamton Aug. 7-10 is sold out. With only general admission seats remaining for most of the other home dates, the Sea Dogs are on pace to break the record for average attendance in a season. The mark is 6,139 set in 1996. The record for total attendance will not be broken because six dates have been lost due to inclement weather….Tim Kester (6-7, 4.04 ERA) opposes Trenton’s Chien-Ming Wang (6-3, 4.15) in the series finale today at noon. The game is sold out.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.