Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Kevin Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND - Casey Kelly finally jumped into the win column.
WHO: Reading Phillies (Josh Fogg 0-0) at Portland Sea Dogs (TBA)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Hadlock Field
TICKETS: 1,500 available
Kelly allowed four hits in six scoreless innings Saturday as the Portland Sea Dogs beat the Reading Phillies 6-0 at Hadlock Field in the first game of a doubleheader.
The second game went extra innings, and the Phillies rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat Portland 8-5 in nine innings.
Ray Chang and Anthony Rizzo homered for Portland in the first game. Yamaico Navarro drove in three runs in the second game with a single and double.
Kelly, 20, the Boston Red Sox's top pitching prospect, has drawn praise for his poise and command. But until Saturday, Kelly (1-3) was winless this year.
"We've been playing hard and it's good to get a team win," Kelly said, deflecting the question about getting his first victory.
Kelly used his fastball command to stay ahead of most hitters. He threw 83 pitches, 51 for strikes, recording his longest outing of the season. He struck out four and walked one.
"I had all three pitches working today," Kelly said of his fastball, curve and change-up. "Tried to get ahead of hitters and let that dictate the off-speed (pitches)."
The offensive support came from Luis Exposito (two RBI, on a single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the sixth), Chang (three-run homer in the second) and Rizzo (solo shot in the fifth).
Several fine plays backed up Kelly, who allowed a runner on base in five of the six innings.
Second baseman Nate Spears snagged a hard line drive and doubled off the runner on first.
In the third inning, Tuff Gosewisch led off with a double. With two outs, Quintin Berry rolled a grounder into center, past a diving Spears. Center fielder Che-Hsuan Lin charged the ball and fired home, throwing out Gosewisch.
Michael Spidale began the fourth with a single but was caught trying to stealing second. Exposito has thrown out 11 of 38 base stealers (29 percent).
In the sixth inning, Ozzie Chavez reached on a fielding error by Navarro. Berry ripped a grounder down the first-base line. Rizzo gloved it, touched first base and got Chavez in a rundown for the double play.
"The defense played great behind me and Expo called a great game, which allowed me to go deep in the game," Kelly said.
This was Kelly's 11th start. The last time he allowed no earned runs was April 18, when he was on a tight pitch count and threw only three innings.
"Casey did a nice job of minimizing the damage, making the pitches and making them swing the bat," Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said. "He was around the zone all day and he finally got some offensive support."
In the second game, Sea Dogs starter Jeremy Kehrt pitched five innings and left with a 4-0 lead. But reliever Eammon Portice (3-4) gave up two runs in the sixth and two in the seventh.
Reading (24-32) tagged Portice for four hits and four runs in the ninth. Catcher Juan Apodaca took the mound to get the last out.
NOTES: Shortstop Jose Iglesias underwent magnetic resonance imaging that confirmed his bruised hand is not broken. But the deep bruise on the knuckles of his index and middle fingers is keeping him from most baseball activities. ... The Sea Dogs put right-handed pitcher Kyle Weiland on the disabled list with a bruised finger on his left hand (i.e., he's getting a rest for a week). Weiland's removal from the roster makes room for starter Stephen Fife to come off the DL. ... Former Red Sox right-hander Jim Lonborg threw out the first pitch as part of New England Ford night.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at