MANCHESTER, N.H. – Too bad the Portland Sea Dogs did not face pitcher Joel Carreno sooner.

Granted, the Sea Dogs faced Carreno plenty early on Wednesday, in a game that started at 10:30 a.m.

But if Portland had opposed Carreno earlier in the season, the result might have been different.

Carreno had struggled in April and early May. But on Wednesday the Sea Dogs didn’t have a chance as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats won 3-0 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

Carreno (1-3) allowed just one hit in seven innings, striking out seven and walking three. Two relievers finished up for New Hampshire.

That performance overshadowed another fine outing on the mound. Sea Dogs starter Michael Lee (1-3) allowed two hits over six innings, although one of those hits was Mike McDade’s two-run homer in the fourth inning.

The one Portland hit was Chih-Hsien Chiang’s opposite-field bloop single to shallow left in the third inning. It was the first time the Sea Dogs had been held to one hit since last June.

“We didn’t do a very good job with out strike zone management,” Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. “We weren’t very disciplined.

“But it’s a credit to (Carreno). He kept throwing his off-speed (pitches) and it was very effective.”

Carreno’s performance came after an inconsistent beginning to his first Double-A season. Carreno, 24, is an international free agent who has worked his way through the Blue Jays’ system one tier at a time. He was the Fisher Cats’ opening-day starter but before Wednesday was 0-3 with a 6.28 ERA.

He showed his potential Wednesday, staying ahead of most batters and balancing a 91-mph fastball with a slider and change-up.

“He kept us off balance,” said Sea Dogs catcher Tim Federowicz, who was 0 for 2 with two walks. “He was throwing all of his pitches for strikes.”

Federowicz said Lee was not throwing all of his pitches for strikes but still competed.

“He didn’t have command of his breaking ball but he located on both sides of the plate with his fastball,” Federowicz said.

It was Lee’s second-best outing: He allowed two hits and no runs over six innings at Hadlock Field on April 26.

“Just trying to make it as simple as possible, keeping ahead of guys,” Lee said. “I used my fastball because … off-speed was out of the zone.”

With one out and a runner on third in the fourth inning, McDade, a switch-hitter, stepped to the plate.

“I was trying to steal a strike and go backdoor with a slider,” Lee said. “It caught the middle (of the plate).”

McDade launched it over the wall in right-center field.

Reliever Jeremy Kehrt allowed a run in the seventh on two hits. 

NOTES: The early game time Wednesday was a promotion for groups, mostly schools. Members of the Sea Dogs’ front office attended the game. Portland is not planning any morning games but is looking into more educational promotions. The Fisher Cats’ stadium has a new name. The Fisher Cats got a new sponsor, resulting in a change from the previous name, Merchantsauto.com Stadium. The Sea Dogs left after the game for New Britain for five games in four days, including a doubleheader Saturday. The team returns to Hadlock Field on May 17.

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

[email protected]