Andrew Benintendi arrived in Portland two weeks ago and the hyperbole began; a can’t-miss outfield prospect who has barely had time to unpack his suitcase the way he’s soaring through the Boston Red Sox minor league system.

But Benintendi began his entry into the world of Double-A baseball by going 2 for 19 over his first five games.


No. Look at his last five games – 7 for 18 – and get a glimpse of the talent.

And for fans who watched Benintendi on Sunday, during the Portland Sea Dogs’ 6-3 loss to Hartford, they saw something familiar.

It’s been nine years since Sea Dogs fans witnessed a left-handed outfielder fly around the bases like Benintendi did, when he stroked his first Double-A triple to deep center.

Think Jacoby Ellsbury.

In his 67 games in Portland, Ellsbury excited Sea Dogs fans with five triples and 20 doubles. Every hit to the gap was an adventure.

Benintendi hit seven triples in 34 games for advanced Class A Salem, a testament to his gap power and speed.

And after a slow first week, he’s starting to show his stuff. Benintendi went 2 for 4 Sunday – his second straight multi-hit game. He has hit safely in five consecutive games, batting .389 in the process.

“His approach is improving and now he’s driving the baseball, staying up the middle of the field,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said. “He’s a good hitter. He will keep hitting, no doubt in my mind.

Benintendi’s triple in the fourth inning was against Yard Goats starter Antonio Senzatela, a prime Colorado Rockies prospect with a mid-90s fastball to go along with a slider and change-up.

“Got a fastball up,” said Benintendi, who had one of five hits against Senzatela (2-1).

Benintendi scored on Ryan Court’s single. The Sea Dogs’ other runs came on Cole Sturgeon’s two-run double against reliever Shane Broyles in the sixth.

But the Yard Goats’ offense churned out 13 hits – including four by David Dahl – and never relinquished the lead after going ahead 1-0 in the first inning.

Portland’s scheduled starter was Keith Couch, but he was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket, filling the vacancy left by Eduardo Rodriguez’s move to the majors.

To fill the gap, long reliever Mike McCarthy started, having not pitched in 10 days. McCarthy (0-2) ate up five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. Reliever Simon Mercedes allowed two unearned runs over three innings.

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 6,179. … Replacing Couch on the Sea Dogs roster is left-hander reliever Jake Drehoff, promoted from Salem. Drehoff, 23, was a 12th-round draft pick in 2013. He had a 4.24 ERA in 13 appearances with Salem, but left-handers were hitting only .143 against him. … Former Sea Dogs and Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson made his first start of 2016 on Sunday, pitching for the Pirates’ advanced Class A team in Bradenton, Florida. Masterson, coming back from offseason arthroscopic shoulder surgery, gave up two runs on two hits and three walks over five innings, striking out eight. … Senzatela pitched against the Sea Dogs in Portland’s home opener on April 14 but left after two innings because of a stiff shoulder. He went on the disabled list and came back May 23, allowing no earned runs in six innings against Bowie.

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