PORTLAND — When the Portland Sea Dogs lost game after game early this season, Manager Kevin Boles kept talking about his team’s ability to battle back.
And when pitcher Stolmy Pimentel endured rough outings, the comments centered on Pimentel’s potential and live arm.
Turns out there was some truth to all that Pollyannaish speak.
The Sea Dogs continued their post All-Star-break roll with a 5-2 victory over the Trenton Thunder Tuesday night before 5,217 at Hadlock Field.
Reynaldo Rodriguez knocked in all five runs with two homers over the left-field wall — a three-run blast in the first and a two-run shot in the eighth.
Portland (47-57) is 11-3 since the break.
Pimentel (4-4) paced the Sea Dogs with 6 1/3 innings of four-hit ball. He allowed two runs and one walk, striking out six. Josh Fields got his seventh save, giving up one hit in 2 2/3 innings (five strikeouts)
Before the break, Pimentel was 2-4 with a 5.84 ERA. In his three starts since, he’s 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA, 19 strikeouts and only two walks. In his second year on the Red Sox 40-man roster, Pimentel seems to be inching his way to the majors.
“You see a young man turning the corner,” Sea Dogs pitching coach Bob Kipper said. “He’s pitching with a lot of confidence.
“We tend to forget that he’s only 22 years old. Maybe this is his time to piece some things together, figure some things out.”
And Pimentel’s latest outing came against a team that scored seven runs on him last month.
“I just try to do the same thing I’ve been doing – be positive, be aggressive,” Pimentel said. “Don’t think about who is batting. Just think about throwing the ball for a strike. I think it’s been working.”
Speaking of working, Rodriguez has been spending extra time in the batting cage. He went 3 for 4, with both home runs on change-ups.
“The work pays off,” Boles said. “We got guys with good character. Guys who want to play in the big leagues. Guys that grind it out.
“No one was hanging their heads or feeling sorry for themselves early on in the year. They are ready to work and ready to play.”
NOTES: Reliever Michael Olmsted joined the Sea Dogs’ bullpen after his promotion from advanced Class A Salem Tuesday. Olmsted, 25, signed with Boston last year as a minor league free agent. He began in the Mets’ organization and then played in Japan in 2010. In Salem, Olmsted threw strikes (61 strikeouts/eight walks) with a 2.29 ERA and 16 saves.
Former professional wrestler Sergeant Slaughter almost did not make it to Hadlock Field Tuesday because of flight delays. He was not in time to throw out the first pitch, but did hang around to sign autographs.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: [email protected]