PORTLAND – Before John Lackey returns to the productive Boston Red Sox rotation, he will make a rehab appearance at Hadlock Field, pitching Monday night for the Portland Sea Dogs.
Lackey is joining a pretty good rotation in Portland, too, based on recent results.
Drake Britton did not have his best stuff Sunday but allowed only one earned run in the Sea Dogs’ 8-7 win over New Britain before 4,808 at Hadlock.
Michael Almanzar paced a 10-hit offense with two doubles and two runs scored as Portland (9-7) won its third straight.
Britton’s performance was the third straight outing in which Sea Dogs starters have allowed only one earned run.
Britton (3.93 ERA) left with a lead but was pulled with one out in the fifth after throwing 86 pitches, ending with a 96 mph fastball for his second strikeout.
He gave up five hits, three walks and a total of four runs.
“Struggled a little bit. Felt a bit out of sync at times,” Britton said. “I did my best to battle and keep my team in the game.”
Britton took a 3-1 lead to the fifth, but New Britain got a run on a bunt single, a fielding error and an RBI double.
Miguel Celestino (1-0) entered with one out and struck out a batter before yielding a two-run double for a 4-3 New Britain lead.
Portland took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth on consecutive hits by Heiker Meneses, Alberto Rosario and Shannon Wilkerson (RBI double), and an RBI groundout by Xander Bogaerts.
Doubles by Almanzar and Peter Hissey keyed a three-run sixth as the Sea Dogs opened an 8-4 lead.
Portland needed every run because New Britain rallied, getting a run off of Celestino in the seventh and two off reliever Pete Ruiz in the eighth.
Brock Huntzinger entered with two outs and a runner on first in the eighth. He walked a batter before shortstop Bogaerts got a great jump on Danny Ortiz’s soft line drive and made the catch on a ball that appeared to be headed into left field.
Huntzinger got into more trouble in the ninth with two walks, but he induced Antoan Richardson to line out to second baseman Meneses to end it. It was Huntzinger’s fourth save.
NOTES: Lackey won’t be the only Red Sox pitcher appearing at Hadlock Field this week on a rehab assignment. Reliever Craig Breslow is scheduled to pitch Tuesday. And, according to media reports out of Boston, Franklin Morales could be here Wednesday. Morales has been stretched out recently as a starter. … Lackey is scheduled to pitch four innings. Brandon Workman had his next start pushed back to Tuesday. … First baseman Travis Shaw has reached base in all 15 of his games and got his league-leading 15th walk. …Former Sea Dogs pitcher Stephen Fife started for the Dodgers on Sunday and settled down after allowing three runs in the first inning. He gave up a total of four runs in 4 2/3 innings, and Los Angeles won 7-4.
Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: