PORTLAND — Jeremy Hazelbaker is one of those guys who possesses the need for speed.

That’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy the occasional trot around the bases. But if it were up to him, he’d rather burn the bags than leisurely touch ’em all.

“I definitely see myself as more of a speed guy,” Hazelbaker said Tuesday night after hitting his first home run of the season in a losing effort as the Portland Sea Dogs dropped a 6-3 decision to the New Britain Rocks Cats in front of 3,846 at Hadlock Field.

“I know speed’s my game and I like that. My game is to squeeze a double into a triple, or get a single and steal a couple of bags. That’s good with me.

“At the same time, if I put a good swing on it, I can put the ball out of the park.”

It’s definitely Hazelbaker’s speed that jumps off the stat sheet. His 63 stolen bases with Greenville in 2010 were the most by a Red Sox farmhand since 1981. Last season he managed 35 steals in 90 games with the Sea Dogs.

But his power numbers can’t be overlooked either. He only had one home run in 2009, his first pro season. The last two featured 12 and 17.

“It’s a matter of seeing more pitches and feeling comfortable,” Hazelbaker said. “My power numbers have gone up since I turned pro but that comes with experience. I’m just like a lot of guys. Once you’re in it a little bit you are going to see more pitches, a variety of pitches. You are going to know what to expect and what to look for, and be able to handle those pitches how you want.”

Hazelbaker’s homer to right led off the third and provided a 1-0 lead for the Sea Dogs. But Portland (3-10) managed only three hits over the next six innings in losing a third straight.

“I thought the first time through the lineup we had a real good approach,” said Portland Manager Kevin Boles. “I thought six out of the nine at-bats were quality at-bats.

“But once they went to (Bobby) Lanigan and (Deolis) Guerra I think we got out of our approach a little bit.”

Lanigan (1-1) and Guerra kept the Sea Dogs off-balance and allowed only two hits in their combined five innings.

After falling behind in the third, New Britain (10-3 and winners of six straight) came right back in the fourth and made their first three hits of the inning count.

With two outs and two on, Deibinson Romero singled to score Chris Herrmann. Chris Colabello raced to third on the play and scored on a wild throw from third baseman Kolbrin Vitek. Romero, who went to second on the throw, scored on Pedro Florimon’s single to make it 3-1.

Colabello, who hit a three-run tying home run in the ninth inning Monday, stroked two more homers in Tuesday’s game. He hit a solo shot in the sixth to make it 4-1 and added a two-run blast in the eighth to make it 6-1.

Portland scored two in the ninth on a triple by Bryce Brentz.

Brock Huntzinger (0-3) took the loss after allowing three runs (one earned) in five innings. He came out to start the sixth but according to Boles, was removed before facing a batter for precautionary reasons after developing a blister on his index finger.

 

NOTES: The Boston Red Sox promoted right-handed pitcher Charlie Rosario from short-season Lowell to Portland before the game. Rosario appeared in four games with the Sea Dogs last season, posting a 1-0 record and a 2.08 ERA.