A week ago, Eduardo Rodriguez was a highly regarded prospect in the Baltimore Orioles organization.
Sunday at Hadlock Field, Rodriguez showed similar promise in his Portland Sea Dogs debut, striking out seven and allowing one run on two hits in 5 1/3 innings to earn a 4-1 win against the Trenton Thunder.
Rodriguez, 21, was acquired Thursday in the trade that sent Boston Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller to the Orioles.
“New team, new guys, new organization, new rules, but I’ve got the same goal, same dream, playing (in the big leagues),” Rodriguez said. “Same baseball but a different team.”
Rodriguez was considered one of the Orioles’ top four prospects.
“You could see out there while he was competing why he was part of that trade,” Sea Dogs Manager Billy McMillon said. “All-in-all, a very solid debut for this organization.”
Rodriguez showed a consistent 93-95 mph fastball from both the windup and the stretch, and “his secondary stuff was very playable at this level,” McMillon said.
Rodriguez left with a 2-1 lead after striking out Greg Bird for the first out of the sixth. The 6-foot-2 left-hander twice worked out of no-out, two-on situations without allowing a run. With the game tied 1-1 in the fifth, two Trenton batters reached on consecutive infield errors, but Rodriguez got Jake Cave to roll into a 4-6-3 double play and struck out Tyson Blaser.
“You know that happens in the games, and when that happens you have to continue what we do,” Rodriguez said. “That situation, where there’s two men on base, that’s where we demonstrate what we’ve got.”
Rodriguez is 4-7 with a 4.60 ERA. It was his third win this season against Trenton. Pitching for the Bowie Baysox, he beat Trenton in back-to-back starts in June. Since then, he had gone 0-3 with three no-decisions.
Portland (72-44) scored single runs in the second and fifth innings and added two in the seventh to break a three-game losing streak and avoid being swept at home for the first time in 2014.
Trenton (56-60) scored on a home run in the fourth by Dan Fiorito. Portland retook the lead in the fifth on a double by Heiker Meneses and a single to right by Shannon Wilkerson.
Mike Miller was also making his first appearance at Hadlock. The Red Sox’s ninth-round pick in 2012 out of Concord, California, was called up Saturday from High-A Salem, where he hit .307 in 49 games. Miller played 31 games at short, 14 at second and three at third base in Salem. Making the start at third, Miller reached base in each of his four plate appearances, going 2 for 2 with two walks, including an RBI single in the two-run seventh. He scored from first on Blake Swihart’s double to deep center, sliding around an attempted sweep tag.
“It’s always nice to get off on the right foot,” Miller said. “It’s a nice confidence boost. Obviously one game isn’t going to make or break a season, but for confidence, to come up and contribute allows me to relax a little and know I can play at this level and hopefully keep it rolling.”
Portland relievers Danny Diaz and Noe Ramirez combined for 32/3 innings of two-hit scoreless relief.
The first-place Sea Dogs are off Monday, departing for a pair of three-game series at Bowie and Richmond.
NOTES: Rodriguez struck out Cave on three pitches to open the game. He walked one and hit one batter. Sixty-two of his 88 pitches were strikes. … Cave entered the game hitting .338 in 16 games with Trenton. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and a double-play grounder. … Portland is now 57-13 when scoring first.