The beauty of a hot start to the baseball season is the gaudy batting averages players put up.
Aneury Tavarez leads off for the Portland Sea Dogs and is batting .438. Heiker Meneses is batting .455. Cole Sturgeon is sizzling at .500, as is Danny Mars.
Then there is the prospect, Rafael Devers, batting .417 as if he’s been in Double-A baseball for years.
All that offense keeps the Sea Dogs going. They quickly erased a 2-0 deficit Monday night and beat the Binghamton Rumble Ponies 8-5 at Hadlock Field.
Portland is off to a 4-0 start, while Binghamton – formerly known as the Mets – dropped to 2-2.
The Ponies took a 2-0 lead in the second inning off starter Jacob Dahlstrand (1-0), but then the Sea Dogs’ bats took over.
Devers enjoyed a 3-for-4 night with a double and three RBI. His double came on a 90 mph fastball, which he pounced on, sending it out at 104 mph to deep right field.
“He hit the pitches they were giving him and he put good swings on the ball,” Portland Manager Carlos Febles said.
Sturgeon went 2 for 2 with a sacrifice fly and two RBI.
“I was here all last year so there’s a comfort level here,” Sturgeon said. “I had a good spring training and it’s carried over.”
“Seems like he’s on a mission,” Febles said. “That’s the best I’ve seen him swing the bat in two or three years I’ve had him.
“It’s early in the season, but there’s no doubt in my mind he’s capable of what he’s doing right now.”
In the third inning, Tavarez walked and Meneses singled. Sturgeon singled in a run, and Mike Olt doubled in another. Devers drove in two with his single for a 4-2 lead.
“The offense is falling in place right now,” Sturgeon said. “You just try to do your part. We’re putting together a lot of good at-bats.”
The outburst ensured Dahlstrand a win – five innings, five hits, no walks, three runs and a strikeout. A good start for Dahlstrand, who missed parts of the past two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015.
Of the 15 outs Dahlstrand got Monday, 12 were groundouts.
“He has a lot of good downward action on his fastball,” catcher Jake DePew said. “Good slider. Good changeup. Working down in the zone.”
Lefty Josh Smith, a minor league Rule 5 pick from the Pirates organization, pitched 22/3 innings (four hits, two runs) in his Sea Dogs debut.
Ty Buttrey came in, with a fastball amped up to 97 mph and recorded the final four outs for his first save.
NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 3,112. … The Sea Dogs recorded six doubles, two away from the team record. … Tavarez stole second base and is 2 for 3 this season. … Mars went 2 for 4 with a double and is 5 for 10 in three games. … Portland is the only undefeated team left in Double-A baseball. … Binghamton’s new nickname, which replaced Mets after 25 years, is a salute to the apparent rich history of merry-go-rounds and carousel horses in Binghamton.