PORTLAND – With all the hoopla about Xander Bogaerts being promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday, fans might forget about other Red Sox prospects residing at Hadlock Field.
One of them stepped on the mound Thursday night.
Anthony Ranaudo delivered a career-best performance, striking out 13 and allowing only two hits in a 2-0 Portland Sea Dogs win over the Erie SeaWolves before a crowd of 4,195.
Ranaudo’s effort recalled names from the Portland past, like Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester.
Ranaudo struck out seven straight at one point over the first three innings, one short of Buchholz’s team record of eight straight, set in 2007.
Ranaudo’s 13 strikeouts tied Lester’s franchise record, set in 2005.
Ranaudo, 6-foot-7, came over the top with fastballs in the mid-90s and dropped in deadly curveballs. He left the game after a two-out walk in the eighth, receiving a standing ovation.
He is now 7-1 with a 2.15 ERA
“Ranaudo has overpowering stuff,” said Erie catcher James McCann. “He is very much downhill and he locates his fastball well. And anytime you throw that 12-6 hammer for a curveball, and throw the fastball after that, that’s tough for the hitter.”
McCann’s own pitcher, Ramon Garcia (0-1), was not overpowering, but very effective, limiting Portland to a pair of runs on seven hits.
Michael Almanzar paced Portland with a 3-for-3 night, knocking in both runs with a first-inning double and an eighth-inning sacrifice fly. Almanzar, who is batting .285 with a team-leading 45 RBI, had his locker next to Bogaerts at Hadlock.
“Good for him,” a smiling Almanzar said of Bogaerts’ promotion. “Now I want to be with him (in Pawtucket).”
A few Sea Dogs would like to be bound for Triple-A, and Ranaudo is certainly a candidate.
“Awesome performance,” Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. ” Just dominating, with the command and the mix, and the fastball leverage.
“He was unpredictable. Looked like he caught them off guard a few times.”
Ranaudo has experienced only one bad game this year, and it was against this same Erie team last week (seven runs on eight hits).
“Seemed like all the hits they got off me then were well-placed,” Ranaudo said. “Today I had pretty much the same stuff.
“(I felt) at the beginning I had command of all my pitches, but I really only used the fastball and curve,” Ranaudo said. “I wasn’t going to try and force change-ups when I really didn’t need to.
“I was just able to control the game that way.”
Ranaudo entered the eighth inning with 13 strikeouts. He got ahead 0-2 on three batters but could not nail down a 14th strikeout for the record — getting a groundout and a flyout before the walk.
“Oh well, it’s still cool,” Ranaudo said of the record he now shares with Lester. “It’s pretty good company.”
Brock Huntzinger got four outs for his 13th save.
NOTES: The scheduled fireworks were postponed because of expected high winds and were rescheduled for Aug. 9. Sea Dogs staff passed out vouchers for a free ticket to all the fans.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: