PORTLAND – First they picked away and then came the big blast.

Mike Vento’s three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning broke a 3-3 tie as the Trenton Thunder topped the Portland Sea Dogs 6-3 in the first game of a doubleheader at sold-out Hadlock Field Tuesday night.

Kevin Thompson had two hits and wreaked havoc on the basepaths, stealing four bases and scoring three times.

“Thompson was the one that controlled that game,” said Portland manager Ron 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.

Two of the hits five were home runs.

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 Justin 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.”

The Thunder struck quickly against Herndon, scoring twice in the top of the first.

Thompson walked and stole second and after Myrow walked, the pair executed a double steal.

Sacrifice flies from Dioner Navarro and Vento gave Trenton the early edge.

Thompson now has 26 stolen bases in 53 games.

“We put him on base three times and he stole four bases,” Johnson said of Thompson. “Obviously when that happens your focus goes to the bases and it makes everybody else that much better of a hitter.”

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.


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