Sea Dogs’ Matt Kent pitches Wednesday at Hadlock Field against the the Hartford Yard Goats. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald)

PORTLAND — The Portland Sea Dogs are not the only ones with a bumpy start to the season.

Infielders Jantzen Witte and Chad De La Guerra slumped early this year and were demoted from Triple-A. But they seem to be turning it around.

Maybe the Sea Dogs can do the same … although they lost their fourth straight game Wednesday night, 5-2 to the Hartford Yard Goats at Hadlock Field.

Portland got an RBI single from Witte and an Austin Rei home run, but Hartford outhit the Sea Dogs 10-9, including a 3-for-3 effort from outfielder Mylz Jones (home run, two doubles, three runs).

Witte and De La Guerra both singled in the game. Since coming down from Pawtucket, Witte is batting .429 (18 for 42) and De La Guerra .365 (23 for 63).

“I saw this as an opportunity to get some more playing time,” said Witte, who was batting .217 in Pawtucket.

“Hopefully, eventually, I’ll get back to where I want to be … I felt good right before I got sent down, working with (Pawtucket coaches) Bruce Crabbe and Rich Gedman. We had some things starting to click.”

Witte, 28, spent 2015 in Portland. He began 2016 here but was promoted after 11 games, and has been in Triple-A since, playing first, third and second base. He came back to Portland on May 12 when Sam Travis was activated from the disabled list.

“I have a chance to play more and I’m doing my best to take advantage of it.”

De La Guerra, 25, had not played in Pawtucket until this year. He only reached Double-A last June 22. He then was invited to the Arizona Fall League and major league spring training.

“I honestly thought I was going to end up here (after spring training),” De La Guerra said.

He was hitting .137 for Pawtucket when he sent down to Portland on May 9 (when Tzu-Wei Lin returned to Triple-A from the majors).

“It didn’t work out well there,” De La Guerra said. “I didn’t feel terrible. I know the numbers aren’t good. I’m not down about it and I’m not upset to be here. I’m just trying to get back on track.”

On Wednesday, De La Guerra’s single was one of three in the first inning as Hartford starter (and Rockies top pitching prospect) Peter Lambert (3-1) looked in trouble. But Lambert escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam. He ended up allowing two runs over 5 2/3 innings (eight hits, five strikeouts).

Conversely, Portland starter Matt Kent (2-2) sailed through three innings (no runs, two hits), but allowed three runs on four hits in the fourth, including Brian Mundell’s solo homer.

Kent pitched a 1-2-3 fifth before allowing another run in the sixth. Kent also lasted 5 2/3 inning (four runs, eight hits and seven strikeouts).

Sea Dogs reliever Adam Lau was dominant, retiring all four batters, the last three by strikeout.

Portland first baseman Josh Ockimey reached base three times with a single, double and walk.

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 5,084 … Teddy Stankiewicz will get his first start since April 11 on Thursday. Stankiewicz (3-4, 5.40 ERA) has piggy-backed other pitchers, including Travis Lakins, and is still averaging over five innings a game. Lakins, on a strict pitch count since coming back from a stress fracture in his elbow, is scheduled to start in one of the games in Saturday’s doubleheader.

Sea Dogs catcher Austin Rei pauses to watch the sail over the fence for a home run Wednesday at Hadlock Field against the Hartford Yard Goats. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald)

Sea Dogs catcher Austin Rei high-fives manager Darren Fenster while rounding third after hitting a home run Wednesday at Hadlock Field against the Hartford Yard Goats. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald)


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. 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.