PORTLAND, Maine — Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka made his Hadlock Field debut Saturday afternoon and did not disappoint. The 31-year-old right-hander struck out seven over 4⅔ innings, and the Portland Sea Dogs scored early and often, defeating the Reading Phillies 9-1 in front of 7,368 — the first sellout of the season at Hadlock.
Matsuzaka retired the first seven batters for Boston’s Double-A affiliate, while scattering only three hits and one run, which ultimately led to a standing ovation from the hometown crowd, when his day concluded in the top of the fifth inning.
It was Matsuzaka’s second rehab start since recovering from Tommy John surgery in June on his pitching elbow. The 31-year-old gave up three runs and six hits against Single-A Greenville on Monday.
The Red Sox expect Matsuzaka will make three more starts in the minors before re-joining the Red Sox.
Matsuzaka threw 74 pitches, 44 for strikes, and reached 93 miles per hour.
“I’m not too worried about my velocity,’’ Matsuzaka said in Japanese through an interpreter to boston.com. “Or my off-speed pitches, at the moment. There are other areas I need to work on before.’’
The Sea Dogs began their attack in the third. Kolbrin Vitek led off with a single, and Juan Carlos Linares was hit by a pitch, before back-to-back hits by Reynaldo Rodriguez and Oscar Tejeda produced the first two runs.
Portland added four more in the fourth, knocking losing pitcher Jonathan Pettibone (1-3) out of the game. Rodriguez delivered the knockout punch with a two-run single with two outs. Earlier in the inning, Ryan Dent and Derrik Gibson added RBIs.
The Sea Dogs sent eight to the plate in the fifth, scoring three times off reliever Juan Morillo. Dan Butler singled home Bryce Brentz, who led off with a walk and stole second base. Vitek was hit by a pitch to drive in the eighth run and Linares drew a bases-loaded walk.
Chris Martin (1-2) earned his first Double-A win, hurling 4⅓ innings of scoreless relief. Martin scattered six hits, fanned three, allowing a run-scoring to Troy Hanzawa in the fifth.
On Sunday, the Phillies defeated the Sea Dogs 4-2 Sunday before a crowd of 5,957 at Hadlock Field. The Phillies won the three-game series taking two out of the three games.