PORTLAND — Alex Hassan, a new outfielder for the Portland Sea Dogs, may be from Milton, Mass., but he’s spent the past six weeks in the heat and humidity of Fort Myers, Fla.
With a game-time temperature of 42, with a 12 mph wind, Hassan was jumping up and down in left field to stay warm Thursday night.
“It was definitely cold,” Hassan said. “We had a lot of fun, though.”
It’s always fun to win.
Hassan warmed up enough to knock in two runs, including the winning sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, giving the Sea Dogs a 4-3 victory over the Reading Phillies in the season opener at Hadlock Field.
“A very clean game,” new Sea Dogs manager Kevin Boles said. “I thought our pitchers attacked the strike zone (one walk) and we took care of the baseball on defense (no errors).”
Sea Dogs starter Alex Wilson got the win, allowing six hits and three runs in five innings, striking out three and walking none.
Wilson, working in short sleeves, fought off the cold to control his mid-90′s fastball while delivering the occasional slider and change-up.
“I had great command of my fastball,” Wilson said. “I was able to pound the zone and get them swinging. That was the plan: Work fast and get out of the cold.”
He was backed by scoreless relief — two innings apiece from Seth Garrison and Blake Maxwell, who recorded the save. Credit Garrison for an escape, pitching out of a no-out jam with runners on second and third.
The offense backed up the pitching with nine hits,
Right fielder Chih-Hsien Chiang enjoyed a 3-for-3 night, with two doubles off the left-field wall, a walk and two runs.
Chiang had a decent season in 2010 (.260, 11 home runs). He appears ready for a better year, going to the opposite field with power.
“I just stayed with my own approach,” Chiang said through Mickey Jiang, the interpreter and first-base coach. “Just be patient and get a good pitch I can handle.”
Che-Hsuan Lin, also from Taiwan, put together some quality at-bats of his own, including a leadoff triple in the fifth, with the ball bouncing past the diving right fielder Derrick Mitchell. Lin then scored on Hassan’s fly to right.
“I was trying to put it in play,” Hassan said. “(Losing pitcher Josh Zeid) left one up and I hit it to the outfield.”
Hassan’s other RBI came on a line single to center in the third, scoring Ryan Dent.
Will Middlebrooks and Tim Federowicz added RBI singles for Portland.
Wilson’s one tough inning featured four singles and two runs in the third. But he induced a rally-ending double play with a change-up. First baseman Jorge Padron handled the grounder, threw to short, then received the throw back.
Reading’s other run came on Tuffy Gosewich’s homer into the left-field screen with two outs in the fifth.
In the seventh, with Reading runners on second and third and no outs, Garrison threw a pitch that hit the bricks behind the plate and came right back to catcher Ryan Lavarnway. He threw to third and got Michael Spidale out in a rundown.
“Nice bounce back to me,” Lavarnway said.
Garrison struck out the next two batters.
Maxwell needed only 21 pitches (15 strikes) to finish the last two innings.
The announced paid attendance was 5,085.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: