When Double-A Portland scored six runs in the first inning without the benefit of a hit on Saturday, the Sea Dogs knew they were in for a good night at the ballpark.
"I figured it may be, yeah," leadoff hitter Mookie Betts said.
The Sea Dogs went on to collect a few base knocks here and there -- 16, to be exact -- en route to an 18-0 dismantling of New Hampshire. Starter Henry Owens was exceptional again and every hitter in the lineup drove in a run as Portland extended its season-best winning streak to seven games.
"I knew that eventually the hits would start coming, and once they started coming, they just kept coming," said third baseman Travis Shaw, who was one of three Sea Dogs to go yard.
"It was a lot of fun," added Betts, the Red Sox's No. 5 prospect. "I mean, whether it's 18-0 or 2-0, I feel like this team is going to have fun, no matter what."
The fun began early for the Sea Dogs. Fisher Cats starter Aaron Sanchez, Toronto's top prospect, started the game by walking Betts, Deven Marrero and Travis Shaw. Stefan Welch reached on an error by first baseman Mike McDade that brought in one run and left the bases loaded.
Sanchez walked Blake Swihart and beaned Sean Coyle to produce two more runs before making way for reliever Blake McFarland, whose three inherited runners scored on a sacrifice fly by Heiker Meneses, a fielder's choice off the bat of Peter Hissey and Marrero's bases-loaded walk.
"Everybody just put together good at-bats from the start of the game, and it carried over inning after inning," Shaw said. "With our team, I feel like once it starts rolling, it becomes a competition between each of us. Nobody wants to be that guy who makes an out or has a bad game. When we start rolling, it can be a very dangerous lineup."
Portland drew six walks in the first inning and finished the game with 12 against two strikeouts. Betts and Marrero finished with three free passes apiece.
For the second time this week, Betts reached base five times, going 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base. He has a .366/.452/.579 slash line through 46 games, with 21 stolen bases in 24 attempts.
"He is unbelievable," Shaw said. "I mean, it does seem like he's on base literally every single time I go up to the plate. ... What he's been able to do this season is just incredible."
The one time Betts didn't reach base was in the ninth inning, when the Fisher Cats sent outfielder Matt Newman to the mound. He gave New Hampshire its only 1-2-3 inning of the night, ending it by getting Betts to ground out.
Portland's pitchers didn't have much trouble, with Owens (5-3) -- Boston's top prospect -- doing the most to hamper New Hampshire. The 21-year-old left-hander allowed four hits and a walk over seven innings with six strikeouts. He retired his last 10 batters and lowered his ERA to 2.83.
"He had everything going," Betts said. "I'm used to it now. I'm used to him going five, six, seven innings, no runs. I mean, they got a few hits today, which was different. Usually, he goes seven innings, no hits.
"Just playing behind him is special. You almost don't even need a defense because not a whole lot of guys put it in play. That's big ups to him, because that's my boy. I really love playing behind him."
Shaw hit his 11th homer of the season and fifth in 10 games with one on in the third. Welch and Coyle also went yard, while Coyle and Hissey each had three hits and three RBIs. A triple is all that came between Coyle and the cycle.
Michael Olmsted took over for Owens and struck out one in two hitless innings to seal the Sea Dogs' Eastern League-leading fifth shutout. Obviously, he didn't receive a save for his work.
Portland tied the franchise record for largest victory margin, which was set on July 20, 2009, in a 19-1 win at New Britain. The Sea Dogs fell one run short of the franchise mark for runs in a game.
"You can't write it up any better than that," Shaw said. "You get a shutout from your pitching staff and then your offense just pouring in 18 runs, that's about as perfect a night as you're going to get."