The Portland Sea Dogs have the worst record in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division, but at least they’ve been making things interesting.

Nate Freiman hit a two-run homer in the first inning Saturday at Hadlock Field and the Sea Dogs held on for a 2-1 win against Hartford to snap a three-game losing streak.

It was Portland’s sixth consecutive one-run game.

“It’s hard when you have to manage the whole game, (but) at the same time it’s good for the development for me as a manager and for the players,” Portland Manager Carlos Febles said. “In those types of games, you learn how to play baseball. Every little mistake counts and every play is meaningful. With that being said, I would love to win a game … 7-0.”

The Sea Dogs got an outstanding pitching performance from Mitch Atkins, who got the start because Aaron Wilkerson was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday morning.

“We knew (Atkins) was going to pitch on Tuesday, but we didn’t tell him until (Friday),” Febles said.


Atkins didn’t mind receiving the assignment on such short notice.

“I’ve done a little of everything this season,” he said. “I tried to be aggressive early. Tried to use the fastball a lot and move it around. I was able to do that early and get on a good pace.”

In his six innings, Atkins threw 50 of his 75 pitches for strikes, allowed four hits and struck out eight.

“He worked with his fastball, cutter and change-up the first three innings,” Febles said. ” He started using his curveball the last three frames he pitched.

He did a good job of keeping the lead and (staying) in the game.”

The Sea Dogs took a 2-0 lead when Andrew Benintendi lined a single to left with two outs and Freiman hit his second homer since joining the Dogs three weeks ago – a drive over the Cross Insurance sign on top of the wall in left. It traveled 418 feet.


Hartford’s Ryan McMahon greeted Sea Dogs reliever Luis Ysla with a triple off the wall in right to lead off the seventh. He scored on Roseli Herrara’s sacrifice fly to left.

Nik Turley earned his first save of the season, retiring the last three batters after walking Dillon Thomas to lead off the ninth.

The game ended with Thomas stranded at third after moving around on a wild pitch and a sacrifice.

“Ysla and Turley did an awesome job,” Febles said. “Things got a little bit hairy in the ninth inning but Nik came back and got the job done.”

Febles said he has been satisfied with the performance of Portland’s relief pitchers.

“The bullpen has been put in tough situations all year,” he said. “Every time they come in it’s a tie game or a 1-0 game or we’re down a run, so there’s no room for errors.

“Every time they come in they come in under a pressure situation.”

NOTES: With his first-inning single, Benintendi extended his hitting streak to four games. … Portland third baseman Sean Coyle led off the bottom of the third with a double to extend his hitting streak to seven games. … The attendance was announced as 5,265.

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