PORTLAND — Crisp. That may be the best word to describe the Portland Sea Dogs’ 2-0 win over the Reading Phillies on Sunday at Hadlock Field.

Pitchers threw strikes and the game took only 2 hours, 15 minutes – typically the time needed for the Red Sox and Yankees to play four innings.

And with clear skies and the temperature approaching 60 degrees, fans were raising their hands when the ice cream sandwich vendors walked by.

Portland batters did not crush the ball, matching the Phillies with just five hits, but the Sea Dogs manufactured runs while Reading ran into outs.

Tim Federowicz and Will Vazquez provided the RBI.

Stephen Fife (1-0) made his first start of the season and looked like the Eastern League All-Star he was last year, throwing five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk and striking out one.

Fife’s limit was to be 75 pitches or five innings. He needed only 59 pitches (37 strikes).

“I got through five just fine,” Fife said. “I’m pretty happy with that. Fairly efficient.

“A lot of fastballs early in the count. Lot of contact. Thought I was in the zone, and we played great defense.”

The only concern came in the fifth after Fife issued his lone walk. He looked off-balance, and the pitching coach and trainer trotted out to check Fife. He was fine.

“It was just my reaction at the way I threw those pitches,” Fife said. “I understand them coming out but there was nothing wrong. I just was upset with myself.”

The runner stayed at first as Fife induced two flyouts.

Seth Garrison and Blake Maxwell finished the shutout, each with two innings – a repeat performance from their outings in Thursday’s season opener.

The pitching backed up an efficient effort by the offense.

“Really good, common-sense small ball,” Fife said.

In the first inning, Phillies starter Chris Kissock (0-1) walked Alex Hassan with one out.

Hassan broke for second base on a straight steal attempt as Jorge Padron singled to right, sending Hassan to third base.

Federowicz flied to right field, scoring Hassan on a sacrifice fly.

In the second inning, Will Middlebrooks continued his hot start (.500) with a deep drive to left-center. Center fielder Chris Frey dived for it, but the ball got by. Middlebrooks slid into third with a triple.

Vazquez came up for his first plate appearance of the season. He swung at the first pitch, grounding to second base to drive home Middlebrooks.

“That’s a great at-bat to start the season for Will Vazquez,” Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. “It was a good approach. They gave him a first-pitch fastball and he gives himself up and gets that 4-3 groundout.”

Defensively, the Sea Dogs threw out three runners. In the first inning, right fielder Chih-Hsien Chiang fired a throw to third base on the fly to get Freddy Galvis trying to advance from first base on a single.

In the third inning, Tuffy Gosewich took off from first base on a fly ball to left field. But there was only one out and Gosewich was easily doubled up.

With runners on first and third in the sixth, Garrison faked a pickoff to third, and then turned a picked off Harold Garcia at first.

NOTES: In tonight’s 6 p.m. game against the Trenton Thunder, the teams will wear the uniforms of their parent clubs, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. … Trenton is scheduled to start lefty Manny Banuelos, one the Yankees’ top pitching prospects. … New England Patriots tight end Ron Gronkowski will appear at Tuesday’s game, to sign autographs and throw out the first pitch. … The announced paid attendance was 4,733.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]


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