PORTLAND – When it comes to prospects, the Portland Sea Dogs aren’t the only team with future major leaguers.
And Wednesday night, the Phillies’ prospects beat the Red Sox prospects, but just barely.
Domonic Brown’s solo home run off Casey Kelly in the fifth inning proved the difference in the Reading Phillies’ 2-1 victory at Hadlock Field.
Kelly, 0-2 with a 2.87 ERA, had his tight pitch count relaxed for the first time this season. Instead of 50 pitches, the Sox were going to let Kelly go five innings as long as he threw well.
He did. Kelly gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits and a walk over the five innings. He struck out four.
With two outs in the fifth and the score 1-1, Kelly threw a 1-1 fastball to Brown. He stroked it over the wall in left-center.
“He was mixing it up pretty well,” Brown said. “He just left one up.”
Brown, 22, is considered the Phillies’ top prospect by Baseball America. After batting .417 with two home runs in 11 major league exhibition games, he’s tearing up the Eastern League with a .358 average, four home runs and 17 RBI.
Kelly, 20, the No. 2 Red Sox prospect, had his fastball, curve and change-up working, throwing 77 pitches, 50 for strikes.
“He was around the zone. Did a nice job,” Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler said.
The Phillies started Drew Naylor, a 23-year-old from Brisbane, Australia, who is on Philadelphia’s 40-man roster. He held Portland to six hits and a run over seven innings.
Portland tagged Naylor for its only run in the first. Juan Apodaca singled, Ray Chang doubled him to third, and he scored on Luis Exposito’s groundout.
Reading tied it in the fourth. Brown doubled to lead off. The Phillies then got runners on first and second when Portland shortstop Jose Iglesias muffed a grounder, lifting his glove too soon. It was the second error of the night for Iglesias.
“Everything is a learning experience for him,” Beyeler said. “This is his rookie season. To be playing in Double-A, he’ll go through a lot of stuff this year that other guys went through three, four years ago.”
After a walk to load the bases, Brandon Pinckney’s sacrifice fly made it 1-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, Chang led off with a double. Exposito followed with a double to right-center. Chang had to wait to see if the ball was caught and only got to third base.
“With no outs, his priority is to get to third,” Beyeler said. “If they make the catch, he still has to get to third. He had a good read.”
A walk loaded the bases with no outs. But Yamaico Navarro popped out in foul territory and Iglesias hit into a double play.
“That was a big inning for us,” Beyeler said. “We had a chance to open the game up.”
Kelly retired the first two batters in the fifth on strikeouts, but Brown took him deep.
“I thought I had him with a fastball away,” Kelly said. “But I left it up a little bit and he’s a really good hitter.
“I felt good the whole game. Good to get out there for five (innings) and get into a rhythm.”
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: