PORTLAND — In the Portland Sea Dogs’ point of view, they were robbed of two home runs Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field, in a 9-7 loss to the New Britain Rock Cats.

One robbery was by the glove of center fielder Joe Bensen.

The other by an umpire’s call.

The call negated a potential three-run homer by a Chih-Hsien Chiang, calling it a one-run double in the fifth inning.

Pretty important call in what turned out to be a two-run difference in the score.

“Very, very important,” said Sea Dogs manager Kevin Boles, who was ejected after sharing his difference of opinion with the umpires.

The controversy marred a back-and-forth game, which saw New Britain take a 7-1 lead, and the Sea Dogs tie it 7-7.

Alex Hassan looked like he would put Portland ahead when he led off the eighth inning with a long fly to left center. Bensen, who entered the game earlier as a pinch hitter, sprinted toward the wall, leapt, reached above the wall and grabbed it.

In the top of the ninth, Nate Hanson launched a triple to deep center. Hassan made a effort for the ball, crashing into the wall.

Hassan left the game, having aggravated a plantar faciitis problem in his left foot.

Hanson scored the winning run on a two-out single by Michael Hollimon, against Eammon Portice (3-5).

New Britain reliever Andrew Albers (2-0) finished his three-inning, one-hit effort with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Sea Dogs starter Stephen Fife was attempting to become only the second Sea Dogs pitcher to reach 11 wins since Portland became a Red Sox affiliate in 2003. Jon Lester went 11-6 in 2005.

Fife, after three scoreless innings, allowed five runs in the fourth.

“The first three (innings) were pretty good and then I fell a little out of sync,” Fife said. “I didn’t have the best off-speed stuff. I didn’t execute enough.”

Chris Parmelee’s two-run shot off reliever Caleb Clay in the fifth gave New Britain a 7-1 lead.

Chiang’s controversial double made it 7-2. The Hadlock right field wall has a yellow line on top of it. On top of wall is a short ledge that is connected to the right field pavilion.

Chiang’s sailed toward the right field wall and bounced up, leading to the assumption that the ball hit the ledge — a home run — and then bounced off the pavilion and back onto the field.

“They said it hit the yellow and bounced up,” Boles said.

It did not seem too important at the time, besides taking away what would have been Chiang’s 17th home run.

But then Portland put up five runs in the sixth inning, on five hits, a walk and hit-batter. Will Middlebrooks drove in two with a single. Tim Federowicz’s RBI single tied it.

But New Britain bounced back from the rally and left Portland with three wins in this four-game series.

Notes: Chiang went 2-for-3 and was hit by a pitch twice. He is now batting .331 with a league-leading 1.040 OPS … The announced paid attendance was 5,890 … Sunday was the last of 24 games between New Britain (48-44) and Portland (36-57) this year. The Rock Cats won the series, 16-8 … The Binghamton Mets come to town for their last appearance this season, starting tonight at 7.

 


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