READING, Pa. — Nate Reed didn’t have a good scouting report on Reading Fightin Phils right fielder Kelly Dugan.
Apparently, neither does most of baseball since Dugan gave up switch-hitting two years ago.
Dugan, who hits strictly from the left side now, doesn’t care who’s on the mound these days. He showed that Saturday night, stroking both his hits off lefties, including the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh that lifted the Fightin Phils over the Portland Sea Dogs 3-2 in an Eastern League game at blustery FirstEnergy Stadium.
Reed, a 26-year-old left-hander signed as a free agent in the offseason, got his first action of the year out of the Sea Dogs bullpen.
Naturally the emotions were swirling deep inside. Not only was this his first appearance in the Red Sox organization but he was doing it on home turf, just two miles from where he grew up outside Reading and on a field where he had played in high school and college.
He quelled those emotions sufficiently with his first pitch, a fastball that retired lefty swinging Zach Collier to end a scoring threat in the sixth.
The next inning didn’t go so well. Reed left a change-up up in the zone to Cameron Perkins, who smacked a leadoff double.
Next came Dugan, a former second-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies who entered the season ranked as its No. 17 prospect by Baseball America.
Reed fell behind 3-1, then challenged Dugan with a fastball that the 23-year-old ripped into right-center for a 3-2 lead.
Dugan batted .342 with a .525 slugging percentage against left-handers last season, which he split between Class A Clearwater and Reading. He batted .272/.498 against right-handers.
In 2012, his first season hitting strictly as a left-handed hitter, he batted .291 against lefties.
“He keeps his front side in and he keeps his nose in there against left-handers,” said Reading Manager Dusty Wathan.
“He looks out over the plate, and he’s got quick hands. He just trusts himself, and he has the wherewithal to just hang in there.”
Reed dug the hole a little deeper by walking two of the next three batters but he effectively got out of the jam, reaching back for a 91 mph fastball to strike out Anthony Hewitt and then getting Edgar Duran to ground out.
Reed was tagged with the loss when the Sea Dogs, who hit the ball well the first two nights in this park, were quieted by the Reading bullpen. Nefi Ogando, who played at Salem last season, Jay Johnson and Ken Giles combined to allow just one hit over the final four innings.
In fact, the Sea Dogs managed just one hit over the final six innings as Reading starter Hoby Milner silenced them over his final two frames.
The Sea Dogs went up 1-0 in the first when hot-hitting Mookie Betts led off with a double. He advanced on Shannon Wilkerson’s infield single and scored on Travis Shaw’s swinging bunt that rolled halfway down the third-base line.
The Sea Dogs went up 2-0 in the second when Blake Swihart crushed a leadoff double, advanced on Sean Coyle’s infield single and scored on Stefan Welch’s sacrifice fly.
The Fightin Phils tied it 2-2 in the second on Dugan’s two-run double off starter Mickey Pena, who lasted just three innings.