Balog handed a 2-0 lead before he even took the mound then left the bump after giving up four runs in just two-thirds of an inning.

The game eventually did grow long for the Sea Dogs, whose pitching and hitting both faded in an 8-5 loss at Hadlock Field on Thursday.

A prospect in the Colorado Rockies’ system, Balog was making his second start in Double-A, and just his fourth overall this season. He pitched five scoreless innings in his Double-A debut on June 25. His second start wasn’t nearly as successful.

Red Sox No. 1 prospect Yoan Moncada led off the bottom of the first with a triple off the wall in right, using his plus speed to make it to third. Fellow prospect Mauricio Dubon followed with an RBI infield single and the Sea Dogs (27-50) were just getting started. Dubon advanced to second on a balk, Cody Decker walked two batters later, and Nate Freiman, Jake Romanski and Tim Roberson hit consecutive two-out RBI singles to chase Balog.

“Just good approach. We didn’t try to do too much,” Sea Dogs manager Carlos Febles said about knocking out Balog. “I think we took what the pitcher was giving us and put a good swing on the baseball and found some holes.”

The Yard Goats (43-34) right-hander didn’t make it back to the dugout before having some words with home plate umpire Jorge Teran, who ejected Balog. Relief pitcher Johendi Jiminian walked Cole Sturgeon but then induced a groundout from Moncada to end the inning.

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The Portland offense gave starting pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz some much-needed run support after the fading Red Sox prospect allowed two runs in the top of the first. Raimel Tapia and Pat Valaika hit back-to-back singles to lead off the game, Rosell Herrera drove in one run with an RBI groundout and Ryan McMahon brought in another with a double down the first-base line.

Stankiewicz, who entered the game 2-7 with a 4.91 ERA, gave up the pair of runs on four hits in a 25-pitch first inning. It was an improvement from his last outing, when, like Balog, he only lasted two-thirds of an inning.

He settled down after that, thanks in part to his offense giving him a lead. He hurled three scoreless innings, including both traditional and non-traditional 1-2-3 frames, before the Yard Goats struck again in the fifth. Zach Osborne led off with a single and came around to score on Dillon Thomas’ RBI single. But Stankiewicz got Thomas back with a pickoff to end the inning.

The lone run only drew the Yard Goats back within two runs after Roberson hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. The 397-foot round-tripper was Roberson’s first of the season.

Hartford got the deficit to within one in the sixth thanks to a lead-off homer by Herrera.

That was as close as the Yard Goats got against Stankiewicz, who allowed four runs on 10 hits, with three strikeouts and one walk in six innings.

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“He got in a good rhythm and threw the ball extremely well,” Febles said of Stankiewicz. “He competed on the mound and just give us a chance to win the ball game.”

Left-handed reliever Williams Jerez took over on the mound and quickly saw the Sea Dogs’ lead evaporate. Tapia dropped a one-out double inside the third-base line and in front of left fielder Decker, then Valaika singled the next pitch to right to tie the game 5-5. The Yard Goats added two more runs on a walk and two RBI singles before Jerez was lifted after just two-thirds of an inning.

Earlier in the day Jerez, along with Romanski, were named to the Eastern League All-Star Game on July 13 in Akron, Ohio. A day that started out on a positive note for Jerez turned into his worst outing of the season so far, allowing a season-high four runs on four hits and two walks.

Ben Taylor came on in relief of Jerez and promptly walked Jackson Williams to bring in a run. Taylor then finished the frame the same way Jerez started it — by walking Osborne.

“It comes down to execution. I don’t think we executed well and they made us pay,” Febles said of his bullpen’s bad day.

A stark contrast in relief pitching helped lead Hartford to the comeback victory. While Jerez lost Stankiewicz’ slight lead, Jiminian, Austin House, Jerry Vasto and Matt Carasiti successfully picked up the pieces from Balog’s early exit. Jiminian gave up just one run of his own on three hits and two walks, House allowed just one hit while striking out three to earn his third win with the Yard Goats, Vasto worked around a walk in the eighth for the hold, and Carasiti struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his 23rd save in 26 chances.

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“Sometimes when you have face a reliever early in the game it’s when normally you do the damage,” Febles said. “But unfortunately they bring some good arms out of the bullpen, kept us in check.”

The Yard Goats clubbed 15 hits in the game, led by Herrera’s three and two each from five other batters. Freiman and Roberson each had a pair of hits to lead Sea Dogs batters, who struck out nine times to match their hit total.

High prospect Andrew Benintendi had a forgettable night at the plate, going 0-for-4 after collecting four hits just two days prior.

The Sea Dogs get two chances at revenge against the Yard Goats on Friday, with a doubleheader starting at 6 p.m.

“Just come ready to work and compete. That’s all we can do,” Febles said. “Whatever happens tonight happened. We need to turn the page and come back and be ready to go.”

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