PORTLAND – Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz homered in the first inning Friday night, as two of the top prospects for the Boston Red Sox could take a bow.

But for a real standout performance for the Portland Sea Dogs, look past those first-round draft picks.

Jeremy Kehrt, a right-handed pitcher drafted out of the University of Southern Indiana in the 47th round, is looking mighty fine.

Kehrt (6-3) pitched six shutout innings as Portland beat the Erie SeaWolves 5-1 before 5,137 at Hadlock Field.

In his third season in Portland, Kehrt, 26, has started and relieved. He began this year in the bullpen but is excelling in the rotation. In his last five starts, he is 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA.

“He’s been terrific,” Manager Kevin Boles said. “He’s versatile and he’s performed. And he has command.”

Kehrt throws a lively fastball in the 90s and gets a lot of outs on the ground (11 on Friday). But his off-speed pitches also are working well. He allowed four singles and two walks, striking out three.

“I’ve been able to throw my change-up and curveball in any count,” Kehrt said of his improvement. “Just the reliability of my off-speed (stuff) has helped me out.”

Bradley began the bottom of the first inning like he did Thursday, with a home run on a fastball. His blast to right-center was his sixth home run in 43 games.

He added an RBI single in the fourth.

Brentz’s solo shot over the left- field wall was his 14th this year and upped his team-leading RBI total to 53.

Portland scored two in the fourth on a double by Travis Shaw, a single by Christian Vazquez, a walk to Derrik Gibson, and RBI fielder’s choice by Ronald Bermudez and Bradley’s RBI single.

Jeremy Hazelbaker (2 for 4) scored in the eighth on a groundout.

Portland reliever Chris Balcom-Miller gave up one run in the eighth on a hit batter and two wild pitches.

Brock Huntzinger pitched a one-hit ninth.

NOTES: The Sea Dogs announced that Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey will make a rehab appearance Sunday at Hadlock. Bailey has been out all season with a thumb injury. Reliever Josh Fields (2.62 ERA) and catcher Dan Butler (.251) have been promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket. Catcher Christian Vazquez, a ninth-round draft pick in 2008, was promoted from Salem to Portland.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases


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