PORTLAND — For anyone needing a break from the trials, tribulations and overall impotence of their parent club, the Portland Sea Dogs have presented a much more frisky and entertaining alternative through the first two months of the 2014 season.

The Boston Red Sox’ Double-A affiliate spent those first two months of the season running roughshod over the Eastern League, compiling a league-best 40-21 record that had them an impressive eight games ahead of their closest pursuer in the Eastern Division heading into Saturday night.

But the Sea Dogs have looked more human, or at least more like their struggling elders, of late. Bowie barked at them Friday night with a 6-4 win, then bit back after falling behind 7-2 Saturday for an 8-7 win before 6,924 at Hadlock Field.

Portland is now 5-5 in its last 10 and 2-3 on the current six-game homestand, which concludes at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Three Portland pitchers combined to walk six Baysox, led by four free passes in 5 1/3 innings by starter Mickey Pena.

“We were pitching away from contact,” Portland manager Billy McMillon said. “I guess maybe we just gave their hitters a little too much credit. But they worked walks and then they got big hits in big situations.”

“Having said that, we had the tying run on third in the final inning,” McMillon said. “We just have to regroup and show up tomorrow.”

Mike Brenly (3-for-4, two doubles, triple) doubled to put the tying run on second against closer Steve Hensley with one out in the ninth, but he was stranded at third when Hensley got Derrik Gibson to fly out to center.

“Our bullpen did a really nice job,” said Bowie manager Gary Kendall, whose saw Hensley combine with Anthony Vasquez for four innings of three-hit, shutout relief. “They’re a really good hitting ballclub.”

Lossing Mookie Betts, who was tearing up the Eastern League before getting promoted earlier this week, hasn’t helped. But offesne wasn’t Portland’s downfall Saturday night.

Triples by Brenly and Blake Swihart propelled Portland’s 10-hit attack. Brenly’s two-run triple in the second off Bowie starter Jake Petit gave Portland a 3-2 lead. Swihart’s three-run three-bagger off Petit in the fifth put the Sea Dogs up 7-2 in the fifth.

Pena put Portland in an early hole when Sharlon Schoop’s bloop RBI single and Bo Greenwell’s error in right field made it 2-0 in the second. He seemed to have found a groove after retiring the next nine in a row, including a terrific diving catch by second baseman Sean Coyle to rob Michael Ohlman of a hit to end the fourth.

But Pena lost his command and surrendered a single and three walks, including one with the bases loaded, in the sixth. He gave way to Matty Ott, who surrendered a single to Gabarez Rosa that made it 7-4, but escaped further trouble.

“We were nibbling instead of going after guys, especially with the lead early,” McMillon said. “That drove up his pitch count and eventually got him out of the game.”

“We just tried to hang in there, took advantage of some opportunities when he started to tire a little bit,” said Kendall, who coached Pena and several other Sea Dogs in the Fall League last year. “

Ott found trouble of his own in the seventh, loading the bases on two singles and a walk, then giving up a two-run double to pinch-hitter Johnny Ruettiger. David Adams’ sacrifice fly tied it and Ohlman’s single through a drawn-in infield put Bowie back in front, 8-7.

Portland threatened to answer immediately in the seventh with the first two runners reaching. After a fly out put runners at first and third, Swihart bounced into a 6-4-3 double play.


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