PORTLAND – The Trenton Thunder did not bring Andy Pettitte Monday night, but they arrived with their bats and enough pitchers to put away the Portland Sea Dogs.

Trenton totaled 14 hits in a 6-3 win over Portland on a chilly night at Hadlock Field.

It was 48 degrees at game time, which is why the Yankees changed their mind about having the 39-year-old Pettitte make a start in Maine. Instead of pitching for Trenton — the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate — Pettitte pitched in Tampa, Fla., in an extended spring training game.

There, Pettitte gave up 10 hits and six runs — five earned — in 52/3 innings — in 90-degree weather.

Here, five Trenton pitchers contained the Sea Dogs to eight hits.

Portland plugged away, falling behind three times and tying the game three times.

But the Thunder pounded reliever Eammon Portice (0-1) for three runs on two homers (Ronnier Mustelier and Melky Mesa) in the ninth.

“Our offense battled back, chipped away and tried to get back into it,” said Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles.

Boles did not see the whole game because he was ejected in the sixth inning, intervening for Oscar Tejeda, who stayed in the batter’s box after taking a generous third-strike call.

Boles listened on the radio as the Sea Dogs dropped to 7-18 — the worst April record in franchise history.

With four months left in the season, what can this team do?

“You keep working,” Boles said. “You have to stay upbeat and positive. The guys put in a good effort every day. It’s just one of those things. You have to grind your way out of it.”

Six of Portland’s eight hits came from three players — Juan Carlos Linares (.362), Kolbrin Vitek (.268) and Dan Butler (.242) had two apiece.

Vitek also hit his first Double-A home run, a blast to left-center that tied the game 3-3 in the eighth inning.

Portice was the fourth Sea Dogs pitcher of the night. He has had five scoreless outings, but now has three appearances when he allowed three runs and at least one home run.

Today, the Sea Dogs look hopefully to May.

“You got to make sure you stay tough,” Boles said. “Nobody will feel sorry for you.”


NOTES: Daisuke Matsuzaka will not be returning to Portland for his next rehab start. Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine said in Boston that Matsuzaka will next pitch for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, in Toledo, Ohio.

Patrick Chung of the New England Patriots will make an appearance at Hadlock Field today. He will sign photos provided by the Sea Dogs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. (except when he throws out the first pitch).

The Sea Dogs are holding their annual college fair today from 3-5 p.m. in the Hadlock concourse. High school students can receive complimentary tickets by calling 879-9500.

Sea Dogs starter Billy Buckner gave up eight hits and two runs over five innings.

Trenton first baseman Luke Murton is the younger brother of former Red Sox first-round draft pick Matt Murton (who plays in Japan). The announced paid attendance was 4,211.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases