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May 2, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Baldwin powers Salem; Sturgeon helps Sea Dogs to split

5/2 Cup of Coffee: The calendar turning to May was a welcome change for Portland, who saw six of its 12 home games postponed in April. The Sea Dogs had a tough task in their return to the field for the first time since last Wednesday with a doubleheader that included facing a top-100 starter. Pawtucket also faced off against a top opponent, while Roldani Baldwin (pictured) and a dominant bullpen propelled Salem.


It was a tough night for the PawSox against top-100 prospect Stephen Gonsalves and the Red Wings. Pawtucket managed only one hit in 7 2/3 off the lefty, a second-inning single by Jordan Betts. Justin Haley was solid opposite Gonsalves, giving up two runs on seven hits in five innings, striking out five without walking a batter. Williams Jerez had another strong outing out of the bullpen, striking out three in two scoreless frames. 


After a series of cancellations due to the weather and related infield issues at Hadlock Field, the Sea Dogs took the field for the first time in six days. They faced a tall order in their return, with another top-100 opponent on the mound in Trenton lefty Justus Sheffield. The Sea Dogs had roughly as much luck against him as their Triple-A counterparts had against Gonsalves, getting held to just three hits in six scoreless innings. Tony Renda, signed Monday to a minor league deal, scored Portland's only run when he doubled and was plated by Jhon Nunez. Renda also walked twice. Starter Dedgar Jimenez allowed one run in three innings, and Matt Kent turned in a strong three innings of scoreless relief. Kent has yet to allow an earned run in 11 1/3 innings across five appearances.

After being held hitless in the opener, April SoxProspects.com Player of the Month Cole Sturgeon blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth, breaking a 4-4 tie. It was the fourth round tripper of the season for Sturgeon, who also singled in the contest. Josh Tobias was on base four times, going 2 for 2 with a double and a pair of walks, scoring twice. Kyle Hart got the start, allowing a run on two hits in three innings, striking out four. 


Roldani Baldwin blasted his first home run of the year, one of three solo shots for Salem on the night. Baldwin also singled and walked, and now has three multi-hit performances in four games since returning from the disabled list. Kyri Washington and Santiago Espinal also went deep for the Sox. Darwinzon Hernandez allowed only two runs in four innings, but he struggled with his efficiency. He walked four batters and needed 90 pitches to get through four. The bullpen was outstanding behind him, as Daniel Gonzalez struck out four in three shutout frames, while Matthew Gorst followed with five punchouts in his two innings of work. Gorst has been excellent, with only two earned runs allowed and 19 strikeouts against two walks in 13 2/3 innings. 


Denyi Reyes had been working in a piggyback and swingman role throughout April, but appears to be firmly in the rotation with the Drive's recent reshuffle. Reyes turned in a very solid outing, giving up three runs on four hits, including a solo homer, in six innings of work. He walked only one and struck out nine batters, giving him an outstanding 37 strikeouts to only three walks on the year. Alas, Reyes received little support from the Greenville bats, who mustered only three hits. Marino Campana accounted for two of those hits, including an eighth-inning solo homer. 


Player of the Day: Hoping to build on a breakout 2017 season, Roldani Baldwin missed the first four weeks of the season after fracturing a bone in his thumb in spring training. The 22-year-old backstop has not missed a beat since his return on Friday, going 6 for 17 in four games, including his first home run of the 2018 campaign on Tuesday evening.

Photo Credit: Roldani Baldwin by Kelly O'Connor