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May 11, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Tendler, Sturgeon power Sea Dogs sweep; Workman in control

5/11 Cup of Coffee: Portland returned home to sweep its doubleheader with identical 7-2 scores. Luke Tendler (pictured) and Cole Sturgeon were the prime players at the plate, leading the only affiliate to win on the day. Bryan Mata couldn't get settled in for Salem, while Kutter Crawford did not get offensive support. Depsite a loss, the Pawtucket bullpen continues to impress, with Brandon Workman submitting a particularly notable effort. 


Pawtucket dropped the opener of its four-game set at NBT Bank Stadium. William Cuevas was outpitched by fellow veteran Tommy Milone taking the loss. Cuevas surrendered five runs (four earned) on eight hits in his four innings of work. The bullpen did excellent work keeping the PawSox hopes alive, highlighted by two scoreless innings with four strikeouts from Brandon Workman.  Over his last eight outings, Workman has 20 strikouts without walking a batter. Bobby Poyner tossed a scoreless seventh before the Chiefs notched an insurance run off Williams Jerez. Aneury Tavarez was 2 for 4 with a triple, and Jantzen Witte also tripled and walked twice.


Every player in Portland's lineup picked up at least one hit as it took the opener of Thursday's doubleheader. Cole Sturgeon continues his fantastic 2018 campaign, going 2 for 4 with a double and pair of runs scored. Luke Tendler doubled and walked as part of a 2-for-2 effort, and Tate Matheny tripled twice in the win. The 13-hit barrage was more than enough support for starter Matt Kent, who struck out seven while allowing just two hits in five scoreless innings. Tyler Thornburg made a rehab appearance, walking one and allowing two hits in 2/3 of an inning.

Second verse, same as the first. Another 7-2 Sea Dogs win in the nightcap featured many of the same key players. Tendler blasted his third home run of the year and drove in three runs, going 2 for 3. Sturgeon matched his 2-for-4 performance from the opener, raising his average to .371. Chad De La Guerra rejoined the Sea Dogs after a difficult six week stint with Pawtucket, and found the Eastern League to his liking again. After going 1 for 3 in the opener, the infielder was 2 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored. Like Kent in the opener, Dedgar Jimenez was blessed with a surplus of support. The big lefty struck out nine batters in a seven-inning complete game, allowing two runs on two hits. 


It was a night to forget for Salem starter Bryan Mata, the organization's top active prospect for the next several months. Mata allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits while retiring only five batters. He struck out one and walked a pair. Despite the drubbing, Mata's ERA remains a very solid 3.92. Santiago Espinal extended his hitting streak in style, blasting a three-run homer in the fifth inning. Bobby Dalbec also went deep, connecting on his sixth home run of the year and first since April 22. Jordan Wren, the team's 10th-round pick in 2017, made his 2018 debut following a torn rotator cup. Wren returned with a 2-for-4 evening, scoring a run. 


Kutter Crawford came out on the short end of a pitcher's duel at Fluor Field. Crawford allowed two runs on five hits in 6 2/3, striking out four against three walks. The 2017 16th-round pick pounded the strike zone, throwing 64 of 95 pitches for strikes, allowing him to pitch into the seventh for the first time in his pro career. A double by Jagger Rusconi was the only of the Drive's three hits to go for extra bases.


Player of the Day: On a day where Portland pounded out 24 hits across its two games, nearly half its lineup could have been an appropriate choice here, but the nod goes to Luke Tendler. The Red Sox lone selection in the 2017 Rule 5 draft, Tendler put up good power numbers last year in the hitter-friendly environments of the California League. He brought that High Desert feeling to Hadlock on Thursday, combining to go 4 for 5 with three runs scored and three RBI. 

Photo Credit: Luke Tendler by Kelly O'Connor