PORTLAND — The Trenton Thunder lived up to their name — and their reputation — on a cold, blustery evening at Hadlock Field on Thursday.

Trenton, an Eastern League finalist a year ago after setting team records for home runs in a month (40, July) and in a season (162), picked up where it left off in September, launching four round-trippers in a 13-5 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs in front of an announced crowd of 5,447.

Three of the Thunder’s home runs came in the first three innings against Sea Dogs’ starter Drake Britton, a highly-regarded Red Sox pitching prospect. Britton struggled through 70 pitches to record nine outs, 45 of those for strikes.

“I thought Drake had good stuff, but we gave them extra outs,” Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. “Once we gave them extra outs, we had to come back early on. But when you give that lineup extra outs, and that ball gets caught up in that jet stream …”

Trenton also belted two doubles, and benefited greatly from five Portland errors, leading to seven unearned Thunder runs.

“We didn’t take care of the baseball,” Boles said. “We’ve got to protect our pitching.”

Stephen Drew, whom the Red Sox signed to a one-year, $9.5 million contract in the offseason, began a minor-league rehab stint with the Sea Dogs on Thursday. The shortstop batted third and played his regular position for five innings, going 0-for-3 with an RBI on a ground-out and a strikeout looking.

“He looked good, he said he felt good,” Boles said. “He’s here to get the at-bats, I think that’s the biggest thing for him, to get his timing down. They played that big shift on him. he hit that one line drive, and they went to the Giambi-shift on him.”

The other higher-profile player beginning the 2013 campaign with Portland is former Boston reliever/starter Daniel Bard. He saw his first action of the spring in the seventh inning Thursday, walking the first batter he faced. He unleashed a wild pitch on the next offering, struggled through a pair of outs and gave up Trenton’s fourth home run before coaxing a soft liner to right field for the third out of the inning.

“Things need to sync up with the delivery,” Boles said. “It’s going to be a process, but the arm is still there, it’s still coming out of that hand, and I think it’s going to get better … Once he gets himself down to one delivery, I think everything will sync up. He’s an athlete, he’s a guy that can make adjustments, so we’re looking for this process to continue.”

Britton’s first inning was a study in contrast. Displaying excellent heat on his fastball, the 23-year-old fanned two of the first three batters he faced, giving up only a soft single to right. The fourth batter of the inning, J.R. Murphy, lined a soft shot back to Britton, who bobbled the ball, putting men at first and second.

Kyle Roller made him pay, launching an offering from Britton into the wind blowing out to center. The ball carried well into the green hitters’ background beyond the fence for three Trenton runs.

Britton finished the inning with another strikeout.

Portland got one back in the bottom of the first and then added three more in the bottom of the second to grab a 4-3 advantage as Kolbrin Vitek, Christian Vazquez and Heiker Meneses scored on Meneses’ home run. But Trenton wasn’t done.

An error and a walk set the table for Murphy, who hit the Thunder’s second three-run homer of the contest to put the visitors back in front, 6-4. Two batters later, Kyle Segedin launched a solo shot over the Maine Monster in left for a 7-4 Trenton advantage.

The Sea Dogs got one back in the bottom of the fourth when Tony Thomas scampered home on a Vazquez sacrifice fly to center, but the Thunder added two more in the fifth on an error, a walk, and a Neil Medchill two-run double, extending the lead to 9-5.

After the two runs in the seventh, Trenton tacked on two more in the eighth to cap the scoring.

In the final five innings, Portland couldn’t solve the Trenton bullpen.

“The first guy that came in, (Danny) Burawa, power arm, then they went to (Shaeffer) Hall, and he can slow the ball down, we’ve seen him before,” Boles said. “Then they brought in (Kelvin Perez and Branden Pinder), seemed like they have quality arms there. Their bullpen did their job.”


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