PORTLAND – By the time players make it to Double-A, it doesn’t matter where they came from. All they know is they are getting close to the majors.

Case in point: Felix Doubront, who began the season as the Portland Sea Dogs’ ace, will start in Fenway Park tonight, facing the Los Angeles Dodgers and Manny What’s-his-name.

At Hadlock Field on Thursday night, two pitchers from diverse backgrounds faced off.

The prospect got the better of the underdog as the Erie SeaWolves beat the Portland Sea Dogs 5-1 before a crowd of 4,620.

Erie right-hander Brooks Brown (4-4), once a first-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, threw a five-hitter with five strikeouts.

Sea Dogs starter Jeremy Kehrt (1-2), a 47th-round draft pick of Boston in 2008, put in a good-enough performance (four hits and two earned runs in five innings) but couldn’t compare with Brown.

“He just carved us up with his fastball,” Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said of Brown. “He threw his fastball anywhere he wanted.

“We didn’t do a very good job of getting quality pitches to hit. We just didn’t grind him enough the guys who just went up there swinging chased his pitches and broke about 10 bats, and made him very efficient.”

Brown threw 113 pitches, 73 for strikes.

“I was able to throw a lot of strikes and able to get them to put the ball in play,” Brown said.

Brown, who turns 25 on Sunday, was once a big-time prospect out of the University of Georgia. Detroit traded its own big prospect, catcher James Skelton, to get Brown in 2009.

Brown pitched mostly in Triple-A last year (4.43 ERA) but came back to Erie this season.

“I was surprised,” Brown said of the demotion, “but they have a game plan for me. I need to stick with the program and try to get better.”

Kehrt, 24, has gotten better, from beginning the year as a Class A reliever to taking a May spot start in Portland and turning it into a place in the Sea Dogs’ rotation. Even with the loss, Kehrt’s ERA is 2.08.

“I’m just going to keep battling out there,” Kehrt said.

He doubled his walk total with four, and needed 91 pitches to get through five innings.

“I was just rushing to the plate,” Kehrt said. “In the past games I came out right away and attacked the hitters. Early on in this game, I was battling myself.”

A leadoff walk in the third inning, followed by a double and Justin Henry’s two-run single, gave the SeaWolves a 2-0 lead. First baseman Anthony Rizzo’s error brought in another run in the inning.

Kehrt gave up a two-out double to Andy Dirks in the fifth. Dirks then scored on third baseman Ray Chang’s throwing error.

Portland scored in the bottom of the fifth. Yamaico Navarro reached on an infield single, stole second, advanced on a groundout and scored on Ryan Khoury’s sacrifice fly.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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