Chris Murphy is no stranger to early adversity.

This, after all, is the guy whose first pitch on Opening Day was turned around for a home run.

So when visiting Harrisburg hit safely twice on his first three pitches, Murphy knew he had to change course, and quickly.

Sure enough, the left-hander began mixing things up and wound up with his first victory of the season as the Sea Dogs beat the Senators 6-2 before a crowd of 3,127 Tuesday night at Hadlock Field.

“They jumped on the fastball early,” he said. “So that was probably the first inning of the year of my starts where I truly had to mix from the get-go. Most of the time, I try to save some stuff for later, but I had to give them the kitchen sink (with) the third batter of the game.”

The kitchen sink, for Murphy, means curveballs, change-ups and sliders interspersed with his mid-90s fastballs. It’s a recipe that has led to a 1.95 ERA, third best in the Eastern League.

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And the two guys with lower ERA numbers – fellow Red Sox prospect Brayan Bello and Yankees farmhand Ken Waldichuk – both got called up to Triple-A in the past few days. Bello and Murphy’s roommate, reliever Andrew Politi, will now pitch for Triple-A Worcester, one rung from Fenway Park.

Murphy said he’s keeping his focus on his next start, his next pitch. He went five innings on a blustery Tuesday night that turned a bit chilly after sunset and allowed no more hits after three in the first inning. He struck out six, walked one and retired his last 12 batters.

“Whenever I get that call, that’ll be awesome,” he said. “However, I’m not really worried about it. It’s day in, day out, do what I need to do and continue to pitch.”

Wilson Garcia’s RBI single in the first inning was the last hit for the Senators, who managed a second run in the ninth with help from a two-out error.

Relievers Jacob Wallace, Chase Shugart and Frank German protected the lead for Murphy, who threw 58 of his 82 pitches for strikes.

“I thought we could have pushed him for at least one more (inning), but they were very long innings on our side,” said Sea Dogs Manager Chad Epperson. “And it’s not a warm night by any means and he’s going to throw again on Sunday. But I thought he did a really good job of settling in.”

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The Sea Dogs only managed to put one ball in play against Harrisburg starter Richard Guasch, but it came off the bat of Tyler Dearden and loaded the bases because Guasch had walked the previous two batters. Another walk, to Hudson Potts, tied the score and Nick Sogard was hit with a pitch to force in a second run and put Portland ahead 2-1.

The Sea Dogs broke open the game in the third. Christian Koss drove in a run with a single and Potts snapped an 0-for-15 slump with a three-run homer that cleared the Maine Monster in left field. It was his team-leading fifth home run of the season.

“The pitch I hit it on was a curveball or slider that hung up a bit,” Potts said, “and I was fortunate enough to connect with it.”

Defensively, the Sea Dogs played errorless until the ninth.

Second baseman David Hamilton ranged far to his left to take away a potential hit and combined with Koss at shortstop and Potts at first on a nifty double play in the ninth.

The Sea Dogs continue their 12-game homestand Wednesday night at Hadlock.

Glenn Jordan — 207-791-6425

[email protected]

Twitter: @GlennJordanPPH


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