PORTLAND – Combined they represent nearly $2 million in signing bonuses and the hopes of their organizations.
Left-handed pitching prospects Drake Britton (Portland) and Jesse Biddle (Reading) competed on a raw Wednesday night at Hadlock Field.
Britton and the Sea Dogs won.
Christian Vazquez hit a double and three-run homer, powering Portland to a 5-2 victory over the Fighting Phils.
Britton (1-1) did his part, throwing a four-hitter over six innings, allowing one run and no walks, striking out four. Britton, 23, is in his second year on the Red Sox’s 40-man roster.
“Everything was working,” Britton said of his fastball, slider and change-up. “Kept the ball in the zone and kept them off balance.”
Biddle (1-1) was keeping up with Britton, allowing two runs and three hits over five innings. A first-round draft pick in 2010, Biddle, 21, is considered the Phillies’ No. 1 prospect, according to Baseball America.
Travis Shaw led off the sixth with a walk. A throwing error put two on for Vazquez with one out.
Vazquez worked a full count before jumping on a 90 mph fastball, launching it over the Citgo sign atop the left-field wall for a 5-1 lead.
“He left it up and in the middle, and I hit it hard,” Vazquez said.
Vazquez, on the 40-man roster because of his defensive skills, was 0 for 11 with four walks heading into the game.
“I wasn’t worried,” Vazquez said. “I’m all right. I’m seeing the ball well, working the counts. I didn’t have good luck (before Wednesday) but I kept working.”
Portland scored two in the second inning. Michael Almanzar walked. Vazquez doubled down the left-field line. Derrik Gibson grounded out to score Almanzar. Ronald Bermudez doubled in Vazquez.
Britton, who gave up a run in the first on a single, sacrifice and RBI single, was in control, needing only 67 pitches, 49 of them strikes.
Britton threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of 21 batters.
“It’s been a problem of mine, getting ahead of hitters,” Britton said. “It’s nice to see I have that in me.”
Miguel Celestino relieved Britton and gave up a Ron Welty home run in the eighth.
Brock Huntzinger entered in the ninth and allowed a harmless walk, recording his second save.
NOTES: Vazquez threw out 1 of 2 base-stealers Wednesday. He has caught 5 of 8 this season. … Gibson, who has played in four games, is batting .375 (3 for 8) with two RBI. … Celestino recorded two strikeouts with his 97 mph fastball. … The announced paid attendance was 2,128. … The Sea Dogs will leave this morning for a seven-game road trip, four in New Britain, Conn., and three in Binghamton, N.Y. They will return to Hadlock on April 18, which is the day the franchise will celebrate its 20th anniversary. .. Sea Dogs workers were busy taking down the Jose Iglesias jersey from the Hadlock facade and putting up pitcher Alex Wilson’s jersey before the game. Former Sea Dogs who are with Boston have their jerseys displayed. Iglesias was sent down to Pawtucket on Wednesday with Stephen Drew’s arrival, and Wilson got his first major league call-up, replacing the injured John Lackey on the roster.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: