PORTLAND – Anthony Ranaudo walked four batters. His pitch count elevated quickly, and his throwing error helped a run score.

Still, Ranaudo got through six innings and allowed only three hits and two runs (one earned) in the Portland Sea Dogs’ 3-0 loss Monday night at Hadlock Field.

Despite the defeat, Ranaudo showed a necessary trait for any starting pitcher — keep your team in the game, no matter how well your stuff is working.

“He limited the damage,” Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. “Saw some good fastballs but he really didn’t have much of a secondary pitch.

“Even without his best command, I thought he did a pretty good job.”

Among those watching Ranaudo on Monday were two chief assistants to Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington, Allard Baird and Mike Hazen (and also, Boston owner John Henry).

They were in Portland, while the Red Sox were off Monday (Cherington was watching Class A Salem).

Among the prospects Baird and Hazen were checking on, Ranaudo had to be high on their list.

And it’s possible Ranaudo made one of his final appearances, if not his last at Hadlock.

In 14 starts this year, Ranaudo is 7-2 with a 2.28 ERA. He has 86 strikeouts and 27 walks in 79 innings. Opponents are batting .180 against him.

Compare that to another Sea Dogs starter after his 14th start, in 2005: 5-2 record, 2.48 ERA, 83 strikeouts and 23 walks in 87 innings. Opponents batted .193 against him.

Those numbers belonged to Jonathan Papelbon. He was promoted to Pawtucket after 14 starts.

Ranaudo began Monday’s game with a 1-2-3 first, including two swinging strikeouts on his mid-90s fastball.

But in the second, Binghamton put together a two-out rally with a double, walk and Xorge Carrilo’s RBI single.

In the third, Ranaudo issued a leadoff walk to Daniel Muno. He advanced to second on Ranaudo’s wild pickoff attempt. Muno scored on Cesar Puello’s single.

Ranaudo settled down and retired 10 of the next 11 batters. Jeremy Kehrt allowed one run in three innings.

Mets starter Erik Goeddel (7-2) shut out Portland on six hits over seven innings. Two relievers kept the Sea Dogs scoreless.

Portland ran into outs. In the second inning, Travis Shaw was thrown out from right field, trying to stretch a single. In the third inning, Christian Vazquez was tagged out at home, trying to score from first on Peter Hissey’s double to left-center.

The Sea Dogs threatened in the seventh after Michael Almanzar’s leadoff double. But he was stranded. With two outs, Vazquez’s blast to right field was caught against the wall.

Portland (38-37) remained tied for second place with Trenton in the Eastern League East Division, nine games behind first-place Binghamton (47-28).

NOTES: The start of the game was delayed for 80 minutes because of a forecast for rain — which never arrived Touted third-base prospect Garin Cecchini made his Hadlock debut and went 2 for 4 The announced paid attendance was 4,280.

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

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Twitter: ClearTheBases