PORTLAND, Maine — The ball was flying out of Hadlock Field on Thursday night as the Portland Sea Dogs faced the New York Yankees’ Class-AA affiliate Trenton Thunder to begin the 2013 season.
Trenton took the win 13-5, but the 5,447 fans in attendance were still able to watch the teams combine for five home runs that were aided by a chilly wind blowing out to center field.
The crowd also was treated to being the first fans this year to watch Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew play in a game that counts, as he rehabs in Portland while recovering from a concussion suffered in spring training.
Trenton dealt the first blow right off the bat. First baseman Kyle Roller’s two-out home run to center plated three runs for the Thunder after Portland’s starting pitcher, Drake Britton, committed a fielding error that extended the inning.
The lefthanded Britton worked only three innings before being relieved, allowing seven runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
The Sea Dogs responded with one run in the bottom of the first and three more off a Heiker Meneses blast to left-center in the second. Tony Thomas scored in the third on a Christian Vazquez sacrifice fly, but that would be it for Sea Dogs scoring on the night.
Trenton finished with nine hits to Portland’s four. The Sea Dogs struggled on defense as well, committing five errors.
Major League veteran Daniel Bard, who is beginning the season on the Sea Dogs roster, pitched the seventh inning and allowed two runs after a leadoff walk and a two-out home run by Thunder designated hitter Neil Medchill.
Bard played for the Sea Dogs in 2008 as he came up through the Red Sox system and is back to work on mechanical issues that stymied his 2012 starts. His fastball topped out at 95 mph and his slider sat in the high-70s.
Drew went 0-for-3 on the night, striking out looking at a fastball in his last at-bat before being replaced in the sixth inning.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who is rated as the No. 1 Red Sox prospect in the system by Baseball America, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a groundout to third as the designated hitter.
This is the Sea Dogs’ 20th season, their 11th as an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.