On a Wednesday afternoon when RubberDucks pitching was incredible, it was also a big reason why the team lost 3-2 to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in front of 6,531 fans at Akron's Canal Park.

That’s the way the season has gone for the Ducks (48-61, 14-25) as they played nearly perfect baseball only to have one thing go wrong near the end.

The RubberDucks set a nine-inning season high in strikeouts (17) and tied the mark set this year in a 13-inning game on May 24 against the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

The downside came when Henry Martinez walked four in two-thirds of an inning to turn a one-run lead in the ninth into the second consecutive one-run loss to the Fisher Cats (48-60, 17-24) in as many days.

“There is a saying in baseball: It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Ducks manager Rouglas Odor said. “It’s every single part of what we do. It’s not just how we started the season, it’s how we finish. It’s not how we started the month, it’s how we finish. It’s not how we started the game, it’s how we finish. That’s why the consistency needs to be there from the first pitch to the last pitch. That’s baseball. Sometimes it’s going to happen.”

The hard-luck loss was a little tougher to swallow with how well Sam Hentges and Argenis Angulo pitched for the RubberDucks before things went sour late.

Martinez, who converted 15 out of 16 saves last season for the Ducks and Triple-A Columbus, came in for Robert Broom (1 1/3 innings, one earned run, one hit, one strikeout) with one out in the ninth and a runner on second.

The right-hander walked Alberto Mineo and Chad Spanberger to load the bases before striking out Logan Warmouth for the second out.

Forrest Wall was down in the count at a ball and two strikes, before fouling off four pitches and eventually walking in the tying run. Santiago Espinal walked to give the Fisher Cats the game-winning run and the Ducks filed into the clubhouse quietly.

That’s been a microcosm of the season for the RubberDucks, who are 8-21 in one-run games and finished July 1-6 in one-run games.

“We’re playing good baseball,” Ducks center fielder Alex Call said. “Sam had a great outing today. We had confidence in our guys that we were going to shut it down. They put together good at-bats and sometimes that’s just the way it goes. It’s going to hurt for a couple minutes, but once you hit the showers, you kind of move on. We’ll come ready to play tomorrow. We’ve been playing good baseball and we’ll find a way to get it done.

“Whether it’s one play or one pitch or one at-bat, it comes down to a game of inches. I was talking with [infielder Ernie Clement] about it in the dugout how beautiful this game is and how frustrating it can be because we are very close.”

Lost in the defeat was the outing from Hentges (1-10, 5.21). The left-hander still hasn’t won a game since May 3, but arguably deserved a better fate Wednesday.

He went five innings and gave up one earned run, but struck out a season-high nine and walked one. Included in that line were seven strikeouts in a row.

“Our pitch mix early was good to some specific hitters whether it was the cutter, change-up or the curveball,” Hentges said. “The fastball was working early in counts. I was getting to two strikes decently quick. Again, I threw too many pitches for five innings [94], but the overall mix was good today.”

The RubberDucks will try to avoid the sweep Thursday when Ducks right-hander Jake Paulson (8-7, 3.96) and Fisher Cats righty Hector Perez (7-4, 4.53) are the scheduled pitchers.