PORTLAND – The Portland Sea Dogs were outhit 12-5, but got the timely hitting, pitching and defense to beat the Reading Fightin Phils 4-3 Monday night at Hadlock Field.
Matt Barnes delivered his first shutout appearance, holding the Phils scoreless for six innings. Tony Thomas homered in the second inning. Peter Hissey singled in two runs in the seventh. A wild pitch scored the eventual winning run in the eighth.
Brock Huntzinger recorded his seventh save by facing one batter, getting Troy Hanzawa to fly to right with runners on first and third with two outs in the ninth.
Barnes (3-1), the Red Sox top pitching prospect, utilized a fastball reaching 95 mph and solid off-speed pitches. He allowed five hits and one walk, striking out four.
“Wasn’t the easiest outing I’ve had,” Barnes said. “My stuff wasn’t exceptional. There were flashes of really good curveballs, really good change-ups. But it was inconsistent. Fastball command wasn’t the greatest, but good enough.”
Portland’s defense bailed out Barnes in the fourth. Jim Murphy, on base with a lead-off walk, tried to score on a two-out double to deep center by Sebastian Valle.
Center fielder Shannon Wilkerson played the ball off the wall and threw to shortstop Heiker Meneses. He turned and fired a strike to catcher Christian Vazquez. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Murphy tried to jar the ball loose, but Vazquez held on for the third out.
“Great relay,” Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. “Deepest part of the ballpark. Wilkerson makes a crisp throw, Meneses a really strong throw, and Vazquez holding his ground. That’s a lot of beef coming in on him. Real impressive play.”
Vazquez later helped out reliever Daniel Bard in the seventh, throwing out the speedy Tyron Gillies who was trying to steal second. Bard then gave up a walk and single before getting Tyson Henson to pop up on a 3-0 fastball.
Vazquez has thrown out 14 out of 30 base-stealing attempts.
Bard, whose fastball ranged from 89 to 93 mph, allowed two singles and a walk (17 pitches/eight strikes).
Keith Couch pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) before Huntzinger came in to finish it.
Reading starter Greg Smith (0-1) was making his first appearance this season. Smith, 29, a starter for the A’s in 2008 and briefly for the Rockies in 2010, has been with several organizations (including the Red Sox in 2011). Smith was waived by Toronto in spring training and signed by the Phillies earlier this month.
Smith allowed only one hit over five innings, but it was Thomas’ blast over the left field wall.
In the seventh, Thomas began a rally with a walk by reliever Juan Sosa. Michael Almanzar singled, Vazquez bunted them over and Hissey singled them in for a 3-0 lead.
After Reading closed to 3-2 with two unearned runs, Portland got one back in the eighth. Meneses singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch, for a 4-2 lead.
The insurance was needed. The Sea Dogs improved to 19-10. Reading is 12-17.
NOTES: Xander Bogaerts sat out a third straight game, but did work out in the afternoon and take batting practice. Bogaerts, who experienced tightness in his midsection, could be available to play on Monday, Boles said. …
Outfielder Ronald Bermudez was sent up to Triple-A Pawtucket, replacing Jackie Bradley Jr., who went on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. …
The announced paid attendance was 3,961. …
“American Idol” finalist Skylar Laine will sing the National Anthem before tonight’s game and will be available to sign autographs.
Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: