Aneury Tavarez and Danny Bethea each knocked in two runs and Keith Couch pitched six strong innings as the Portland Sea Dogs beat the Akron RubberDucks 5-3 Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field.

Tavarez hit home runs in his first two at-bats, helping Portland to a 3-0 lead. Coming into the game, Tavarez had only three home runs this season.

“I had a good breakfast,” he joked, through interpreter and teammate Mauricio Dubon. Tavarez also had an infield single, going 3 for 4. He continues to lead the Eastern League in batting with a .330 average.

“He can drive the ball and he has speed to get on base,” Portland Manager Carlos Febles said.

Tim Roberson also went 3 for 4 and scored twice, drive home both times by Bethea.

In the sixth inning, Bethea broke a 3-3 tie with a sacrifice fly. Bethea added an RBI double in the eighth.

The Sea Dogs improved to 44-69, while Akron dropped to 56-59.

Portland took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. After Tavarez’s home run to right field, Dubon doubled and eventually scored on a groundout.

Couch (8-4) retired 11 of the first 13 batters and did not allow an earned run. Akron loaded the bases on a single, an error and a hit batter in the fifth. Luigi Rodriguez’s two-out, three-run double tied the game.

Portland got scoreless relief from Williams Jerez (one inning, one hit) and Ben Taylor (two innings, one walk).

NOTES: Top prospect Yoan Moncada sat out his second straight game since spraining his ankle Friday night while sliding into third base. Febles said Moncada’s ankle has improved and that he is “day to day.” … The announced paid attendance was a second straight sellout of 7,368. … The Sea Dogs left after the game for a week-long road trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, and Akron, Ohio. … The Sea Dogs return to Hadlock on Aug. 16 for a three-day, five-game series against Altoona, with doubleheaders on Aug. 16 and 17. …

In Pawtucket, former Sea Dogs starter Justin Haley pitched a seven-inning shutout in the first game of a doubleheader. He allowed five hits and one walk, striking out four. … Two former Sea Dogs pitchers were called up to the big leagues Sunday. Chris Smith was summoned to Oakland, and the Atlanta Braves promoted Madison Younginer for their bullpen. Younginer got into Sunday’s game for his major-league debut, allowing two hits in two-thirds of an inning. …

Before Sunday’s game, fans were allowed to play catch in the outfield. One elderly fan had no one to throw to, but was soon playing catch with Sea Dogs pitcher Mike McCarthy. … Sunday was not a complete loss for the Akron players. After the game, they enjoyed a lobster dinner before boarding their bus.


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