The Portland Sea Dogs faced an 11-hour bus ride to Richmond, Virginia, after Sunday’s game against the Harrisburg Senators.

The ride may seem even longer for the Sea Dogs after letting two leads slip away in an 11-8 loss before 5,756 at Hadlock Field.

Portland led 8-5 after seven innings. The Senators scored twice in the eighth, then won it with a four-run rally in the ninth.

“That’s a tough one,” Portland Manager Joe Oliver said.

You won’t blame the Sea Dogs for not watching the game film on the bus.

The Senators had their own lowlights, including five errors and some mental lapses.

“Crazy,” Harrisburg Manager Matt LeCroy said. ”I’m glad I’m on this side of it.”

The Senators won the series 3-1. Harrisburg has already qualified for the Eastern League playoffs by winning the West Division in the first half. The Senators are 17-19 in the second half. Portland is 17-21 in the second half, six games behind first place Reading in the East.

Among the bright spots for the Sea Dogs were 3-for-5 days from right fielder Tate Matheny and third baseman Jeremy Rivera, and another quality start from Denyi Reyes.

Reyes gave up seven hits in six innings, with no walks and seven strikeouts. He allowed three runs – two earned – and lowered his ERA to 3.77.

The outing completed a remarkable month for Reyes, who made five starts and recorded four wins with a 1.12 ERA.

Reyes allowed a run in the third on two doubles and a single. But with runners on second and third and one out, Reyes struck out the next two batters with an elevated fastball and big-breaking curve.

In the fourth, a single and double put runners on second and third with nobody out. Reyes induced a pop-up for the first out, but Rhett Wiseman hit a hard grounder to first baseman Bobby Dalbec, who whiffed on it, allowing two runs to score for a 3-0 lead.

Portland rallied with two runs in the fourth and two in the sixth, putting Reyes in line for his fifth win in July.

“Reyes threw the ball really well for us and gave us a shot,” Oliver said. “The bullpen just couldn’t close it down.

Durbin Feltman gave up the lead in the seventh, allowing a double and Michael Taylor’s two-run homer.

Portland rallied again with four runs in the seventh. Dalbec walked, Joe Curletta doubled, and Luke Tendler singled in Dalbec. Tate Matheny singled home Curletta, sending Tendler to third.

Matheny then got caught in a rundown. While the Senators tried to get Matheny, Tendler raced home. Senators first baseman Ian Sagdal tried to tag Matheny but missed, then threw home too late.

With two outs, Rivera blooped a single to center. Harrisburg was casual in getting the ball back to the infield, and Matheny scored from first base for an 8-5 lead.

“We had some defensive miscues and letdowns that let them have a comfortable lead,” LeCroy said. “To the boys’ credit, they battled, got some big hits and got back in it.”

Jordan Weems relieved in the eighth and Harrisburg loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. With two outs, second baseman Brett Netzer could not handle Taylor’s tricky, shallow fly ball to right field, the ball bouncing out of his glove. Taylor was credited with a two-run single, and Portland’s lead was trimmed to 8-7.

Adam Lau (1-4) relieved in the ninth. After a single, a walk and a sacrifice bunt, Harrisburg scored the tying run on a wild pitch. After another walk, Rhett Wiseman scorched a two-run triple to right, then scored on a sacrifice fly.

One-time major league All-Star Brad Boxberger got the win with a scoreless eighth. Boxberger, 31, was recently released by the Royals and signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.

Aaron Barrett pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 23rd save.

The Sea Dogs return to Hadlock Field on Aug. 6.

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