Nathan Hickey wanted a sinker. Facing Hartford’s Austin Kitchen with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, Hickey thought back to a previous at-bat against Kitchen.

“I wanted that sinker. Earlier in the year I took him deep on a sinker,” said Hickey, the Portland Sea Dogs’ designated hitter Tuesday. “Then he threw that change-up and I saw it right out of his hand. Honestly, I thought it was a sinker the whole time until I got back in the dugout.”

Hickey drove Kitchen’s pitch down the right-field line, clearing the bases and giving the Sea Dogs their first lead of the night. It was the big hit in a six-run eighth inning, and the hit that keyed Portland’s 6-3 comeback win over the Yard Goats in front of an announced crowd of 4,848.

Much of the game was played in a steady, misty rain, and it took the Sea Dogs much of the damp night to find their offense.

Down 3-0, Portland (71-61) loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth on three consecutive walks from Hartford’s Juan Mejia. Chase Meidroth’s sharp single to right field scored Tyler McDonough to cut the deficit to 3-1 and set up Hickey’s bases-loaded opportunity.

Blaze Jordan followed Hickey with an RBI double for a 5-3 lead, and later scored on Matthew Lugo’s sacrifice fly to left field.


The eighth inning more than made up for Portland’s slow start at the plate. Hartford (55-74) starting pitcher Joe Rock went five scoreless innings, striking out 10.

“He was pounding the zone. (Rock) was throwing all his pitches for strikes. It’s pretty tough when he’s throwing all three pitches for strikes,” said Hickey, who struck out in his first three at-bats, including twice against Rock.

Ryan Miller earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief to improve to 5-2, and Alex Hoppe pitched a perfect ninth for his second save. It was another strong start for Portland’s Hunter Dobbins. Called up from High-A Greenville on June 23, it was the fifth straight start in which Dobbins allowed two or fewer earned runs. He went six innings, striking out six and walking two.

Dobbins said he went into the start knowing in wetter conditions he couldn’t throw too hard, and credited catcher Kyle Teel, Boston’s first-round draft pick in July who joined the Sea Dogs last week, with calling a strong game.

“The first few starts up here went well, then I kind of hit a rough patch. I lost myself a little bit. Our coaching staff up here helped me settle back in, and once I did that things started to tick back up. Learning how to pitch at these upper levels is always a challenge,” Dobbins said.

Hartford took a 2-0 lead in the third on Bladmir Restituyo’s two-run homer over the left-field wall. The Yard Goats added to their lead in the fifth: Ryan Ritter led off with a walk, went to second on Restituyo’s sacrifice, to third on a groundout to second by Sterlin Thompson, and scored when Adeal Amador reached on an error.

PRIOR TO TUESDAY’S GAME, outfielder Corey Rosier was promoted to Triple-A Worcester. Rosier led the Sea Dogs with 49 stolen bases, and was third on the club with 64 runs. Rosier also had seven home runs and 39 RBI while hitting .285. Outfielder Tyler Esplin was added to the roster from the development list to take Rosier’s place.

Comments are no longer available on this story