READING, Pa. – Brandon Workman wanted to sign out of high school after being drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the third round of the 2007 June draft.
There are a number of hitters in Reading’s lineup Tuesday night who wish he had.
Workman was downright nasty to some of the guys who could have been his teammates, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning and earning the victory as the Portland Sea Dogs beat the Fightin Phils 5-3 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Workman, who signed with the Boston Red Sox as a second-rounder in 2011, had all his pitches working, including an effective cutter that helped him retire the first 18 batters and record six strikeouts over his 62/3 innings.
“It was a real good pitch today,” Workman said of the cut fastball. “I was throwing it early in counts. Their hitters were real aggressive so I was just trying to throw that early to keep them off balance.”
Portland Manager Kevin Boles thought the pitch was the key to the best of Workman’s five outings.
“That cutter’s been a weapon for him,” Boles said, “and obviously he’s got the mix with the power fastball, and he’s got the breaking ball, also. That cutter was definitely a standout pitch for him tonight.”
Still, the Fightin Phils were able to make a game of it after trailing 3-0 through six.
Albert Cartwright broke up Workman’s perfect night with a double off the base of the wall in left to open the seventh.
Workman struck out the next two batters before walking Jim Murphy and surrendering an RBI double to Tyler Henson, the league’s batting leader.
Boles went to his bullpen at that point, calling in Daniel Bard, and the Eastern Division-leading Sea Dogs (14-9) caught a break.
With runners on second and third, Bard fired a fastball off the backstop. Murphy broke for home but was out by 10 feet when the ball caromed directly back to catcher Christian Vasquez, ending the threat.
“It was an unfortunate break,” Murphy said. “That ball could have gone 100 different ways.”
The Sea Dogs got a two-run single from Tony Thomas — his third hit and third RBI of the night — in the eighth to pull ahead 5-1.
The Phillies rallied in the eighth with a one-out single and double, and pulled within 5-2 when Bard wild-pitched a runner home. After Bard walked the next batter, he was removed in favor of Brock Huntzinger.
Cartwright greeted him with an RBI single to make it 5-3 but Huntzinger escaped the inning without further damage, then pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save.
The night belonged to Workman, who improved to 4-0 and lowered his ERA to 2.73 in five starts.
“I’ve been off to a pretty good start,” he said. “I’m just trying to continue that and be consistent throughout the season.”
Overall, in 10 Double-A starts, Workman is 7-1 with a 3.29 ERA.
“He’s been terrific, terrific,” Boles said. “You know what you’re going to get from him: He’s going to attack the zone, there isn’t any fear of contact, (he) keeps a good pace. It was pretty impressive.”