PORTLAND — The pitching appeared just fine on Thursday night.
The Portland Sea Dogs returned to Hadlock Field with an Eastern League-worst 4.66 ERA.
But the arms came through in a 5-1 victory over New Britain as Brock Huntzinger (1-2) allowed one run over five inning for his first Double-A win. The bullpen gave up only one hit to the Rock Cats (7-6).
Portland (5-7) put together nine hits, including a pair each from Tim Federowicz and Jon Hee.
Alex Hassan, who leads the league with a .455 batting average, was 1 for 3 with an RBI double for the Sea Dogs, and Ryan Lavarnway added two RBI.
Huntzinger gave up four hits, including a home run by Chris Parmelee, and no walks. He struck out one.
Huntzinger, 23, was a 2007 third-round draft pick out of Pendleton Heights High School in Indiana. He had a career 3.89 ERA coming into his first season with Portland and struggled his first two starts, allowing 11 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.
“I was pressing,” Huntzinger said. “I was thinking (Double-A) was so different. I was rushing out, trying to throw too hard and missing spots.
“My fastball command was better (Thursday). I had a good change-up and I threw some good sliders.”
The game was played with a blustery 23-mph wind blowing in from left field.
“The gusts, you noticed them,” Huntzinger said. “But once you’re out in it, you just (pitch).”
Right-hander Seth Garrison extended his scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in five appearances. He went two innings, allowing one hit and two walks with two strikeouts.
Right-hander Santo Luis (2.45 ERA) allowed only one runner on a fielding error while striking out three over the final two innings.
The Sea Dogs got all the runs they needed in the first inning after loading the bases with three quality at-bats. Che-Hsuan Lin beat out an infield single, Hassan walked on 10 pitches after an 0-2 count, and Federowicz went the opposite way with a ground-ball single to right.
Lavarnway walked in a run, laying off a 3-1 high fastball, and Federowicz later scored on a wild pitch.
“Our guys settled in and had some quality approaches in the first inning to give us a lead,” Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. “Working the count, getting pitches to hit and not giving in to the pitcher.”
The Sea Dogs added three runs on four hits in the fourth off Bobby Lanigan (1-2) on Hee’s single, Hassan’s double to right, an infield single by Federowicz with a throwing error by third baseman Ray Chang to score Hassan, and Lavarnway’s RBI single.
NOTES: Lin and Ryan Dent each got his fourth stolen base, improving the Sea Dogs to 14 of 16 for the season. Chang made his first appearance at Hadlock Field since playing for the Sea Dogs last year. He signed with the Minnesota Twins in the offseason. Hee, a utility player, is batting .444 (4 for 9). The announced paid attendance was 3,499. Fireworks will follow tonight’s game.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org