PORTLAND – In honor of the Maine Red Claws making the NBA D-League playoffs, the neighboring Portland Sea Dogs used their tall pitching lineup Tuesday night.
Starter Anthony Ranaudo, 6-foot-7, made a solid 2013 debut, allowing one run over five innings, striking out six.
For the last three innings, 6-7 Chris Martin faced nine batters and got nine outs.
In between Ranaudo and Martin was 6-4 Daniel Bard. He took the loss, allowing two runs in the sixth inning. Reading scored the winning run on a wild pitch as the Fightin Phils beat Portland 3-2 at Hadlock Field.
Michael Almanzar gave Portland a 2-0 lead with a two-run bloop double to right field in the first.
After Reading went ahead, Portland had two late rallies squashed.
The Sea Dogs loaded the bases with one out in the eighth. But Kolbrin Vitek grounded into a double play.
In the ninth, singles by Heiker Meneses and Peter Hissey put runners on first and third with one out. Shannon Wilkerson grounded into the 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
“We had our chances,” Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said.
Bard threw 15 of 18 for strikes, although he left some up. After Edgar Duran’s leadoff single, Zach Collier bunted. Portland catcher Christian Vazquez threw to second, but the throw was wide and Duran was safe.
Jim Murphy singled in Duran, and Collier took third. He scored on Bard’s wild pitch in the dirt to make it 3-2.
“I wanted to go inside and I tried to be a little too perfect,” Bard said. “I ended up yanking it.”
Bard did not strike out anyone, but his command is coming back.
“I’m happy with my delivery. Maybe I could be more down in the zone,” Bard said. “I got to put people away. Not enough swings and misses.”
Ranaudo, whose 2012 season was soured by injuries, made an impressive start to his comeback. Ranaudo kept his 93-95 mph fastball down on the corners, while using his change-up and curve. He allowed five hits and one walk. He threw 71 pitches, 48 for strikes.
“Definitely a good way to start the year,” Ranaudo said. “Didn’t have too many of those last year.”
Martin made his second appearance of the season. He allowed one hit (runner erased on a double play) and struck out three. In six innings, Martin has an 0.00 ERA with 10 strikeouts.
“Just being more consistent with the fastball and slider,” Martin said.
NOTES: Almanzar went 2 for 4 and his average dropped to .571 (8 for 14). Vazquez threw out both Reading runners who tried to steal second base. The announced paid attendance was 2,504. Xander Bogaerts played shortstop as Stephen Drew ended his rehab assignment and returned to Boston. Reading will send Phillies first-round draft pick (and No. 1 prospect) Jesse Biddle, 21, to the mound Wednesday night. He is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA. Drake Britton (0-1) goes for the Dogs.
Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at firstname.lastname@example.org