READING, Pa. — Mookie Betts got a chance to talk hitting with Dustin Pedroia and some of the other Red Sox hitters at big league camp during spring training. He obviously took good notes.
He’s making the most of his skull sessions and has seven hits in the Portland Sea Dogs’ first two games, including three more in a 4-1 win over the Reading Fightin Phils on Friday night.
The 21-year-old second baseman is 7 for 9 in his first two Double-A games, with three extra-base hits.
“I got a lot of info when I was in the (big league camp),” said Betts, who doubled twice and singled in five at-bats Friday. “I picked their brains and learned some things. They gave me some things to think about and I brought it here.”
Betts isn’t alone in his assault on Reading pitching. The Sea Dogs collected nine hits on a cold, damp night.
Sean Coyle had two hits, including a solo homer in the second that put Portland on top 1-0. Coyle also had an RBI single in the three-run sixth that saw the Sea Dogs break ahead.
Betts hasn’t let the lousy April conditions deter him.
“If you’re gonna make it to the big leagues, it’s gonna be cold there, too,” he reasoned. “You can’t think about that.”
Betts seems headed in that direction. He was the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year last season when he batted .316 with 36 doubles, 15 homers, 65 RBI and 81 walks in 127 games split between low Class A Greenville and Class A Salem.
He helped lead the latter team to the South Atlantic League championship, batting .341 in 51 games at the end of the season.
Sea Dogs Manager Billy McMillon, Salem’s manager a year ago, isn’t surprised to see Betts come out swinging like this.
“He’s doing what we hoped, what we expected him to do,” McMillon said. “He’s having good at-bats and he’s putting good swings on balls.”
The Sea Dogs got solid pitching, with starter Keith Couch and three relievers combining to strike out 10. The only run they allowed was unearned.
That came in the third when Cameron Perkins hit a two-out double and scored when left fielder Bo Greenwell’s throw to the plate after Kelly Dugan’s single was off. That tied it 1-1.
The Sea Dogs got only four hits in five innings off Severino Gonzalez, the Philadelphia Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2013.
They went right to work on reliever Ryan O’Sullivan in the sixth, getting a leadoff double from Deven Marrero, walks to Travis Shaw and Henry Ramos, and RBI singles from Blake Swihart and Coyle. A third run came home on an error.
“So far it’s a small sample size, (but) you like what you see out there,” McMillon said of the 2-0 start.
NOTES: Couch picked up the win, going 52/3 innings, allowing six hits and one unearned run. He struck out six and walked just one. … Sea Dogs catcher Blake Swihart threw out a pair of base stealers. … The Phillies got just one hit over the final six innings.