PORTLAND – Portland Sea Dogs right-hander Stolmy Pimentel threw a no-hitter for four innings.

The New Britain Rock Cats could not get Pimentel out of the game. Neither could the lightning that appeared around Hadlock Field.

But the rain finally ended the night for Pimentel and everyone else.

Friday’s game was suspended because of rain after 3½ innings with the score 0-0.

The nine-inning game will resume at 5 p.m. Saturday, with the Sea Dogs coming to bat in the bottom of the fourth.

Saturday’s regularly scheduled game will follow. It will be a seven-inning game.

Mike MacDonald will start the second game tonight for Portland. Manager Kevin Boles was still working on choosing his pitchers for the resumed game.

It isn’t known whether Red Sox reliever Rich Hill, who was scheduled to make a rehab appearance Friday night, will pitch Saturday.

Hill could go back to Boston and pitch for Pawtucket in the annual “Futures at Fenway” minor league doubleheader at Fenway Park.

So the Sea Dogs might not have Hill today, and they definitely won’t have Pimentel.

“It’s a shame the weather stopped him,” Boles said. “I liked his fastball (Friday night) and he had a real good slider going.”

Pimentel struck out leadoff batter Aaron Hicks, one of the Minnesota Twins’ top prospects, with that slider. He was also tossing in 96 mph fastballs.

It’s that combination that keeps Boston hoping that Pimentel will reach his potential.

He retired the first nine batters. Hicks reached on an infield error to begin the fourth and Chris Herman drew the only walk from Pimentel, who got out of the jam with a fly out, groundout and strikeout.

Pimentel threw 51 pitches, 34 for strikes.

It was a nice rebound from his last outing, when he gave up seven runs in 51/3 innings. But even in that start Aug. 10, Pimentel retired 13 of 15 batters before giving it up in the sixth inning.

It is because of Pimentel’s difficulty to stay consistent in a game that there is speculation he eventually will head to the bullpen, especially with only one minor league option remaining. Boston has to promote Pimentel to the majors by 2014 or risk losing him.

New Britain starter Luke French looked solid Friday after a quick jam. The first two Sea Dogs, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Marques Smith, singled.

But with both runners stealing, Jeremy Hazelbaker flied out to left and Bradley didn’t get back to second base in time, resulting in a double play. Smith was then thrown out at second trying to steal.

Portland went down 1-2-3 in the next two innings.

While Boles hasn’t announced a pitcher for the resumed game, one candidate is reliever (and former starter) Chris Balcom-Miller, who hasn’t pitched in 10 days.

NOTES: In the Futures at Fenway minor league doubleheader Saturday featuring Lowell and Pawtucket, former Sea Dogs left-hander Chris Hernandez will start for the PawSox.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases