The way outfielder Cole Sturgeon is starting this Portland Sea Dogs season, he brings back memories of Jacoby Ellsbury and, more recently, Aneury Tavarez.

Sturgeon appeared destined for Triple-A Pawtucket this season but, instead, was sent back to Double-A Portland.

Sturgeon, who first came to Portland in 2015, said the only thing he can do is keep playing – which he is doing well, batting .425 after 10 games.

Sturgeon went 6 for 8 Tuesday night as the Sea Dogs split a doubleheader with the Hartford Yard Goats at Hadlock Field, winning the first game 8-2 and losing the second, 6-3.

Portland (4-6) received scoreless outings from left-handed starters, Kyle Hart and Matt Kent.

With a home run and double, along with four singles over two games, Sturgeon ended up with three runs, two RBI and a stolen base.

“I’m sure there are times I’ve felt this good, but I’m trying not to think about it,” Sturgeon said. “Just keep it simple.”

In 2007, Ellsbury was surprisingly sent back to Portland after a solid 2006. He batted .452 in 17 games and was gone.

Tavarez had a breakout 2016 season and almost made the Orioles’ roster in 2017 as a Rule V draft pick. But Tavarez was returned, and the Red Sox sent him to Portland. He batted .377 in 17 games and reached Pawtucket.

Sturgeon, 26, could find himself in Triple-A (which currently has a logjam that includes Tavarez and former Sea Dogs slugger Jeremy Barfield).

Sturgeon had five straight hits – going 4 for 4 in the first game, and singling in the first inning of the second game.

“Obviously, he’s putting together some really good at-bats,” Sea Dogs Manager Darren Fenster said. “He’s seeing the ball and getting a lot of hard contact.”

The Sea Dogs featured plenty of offense in the first game. Second baseman Esteban Quiroz – a free agent from the Mexican League – was 2 for 3 with a three-run homer and double. He is batting .353.

The production was plenty for Hart (1-1), making his second Double-A start. He kept the Yard Goats off balance with a high-80’s fastball and solid change-up, allowing no runs, five hits and two walks over six innings, striking out three.

In the second game, Kent – a former starter moved to the bullpen – got the spot start. His fastball was mid-to-high 80’s but he also flustered Hartford with plenty of off-speed pitches, allowing one hit and two walks, striking out six over four innings.

Kent left with a 1-0 lead, but reliever Trey Ball (0-1) had his first rough outing this year (two walks, double, three-run Sam Hilliard home run in the fifth), and Hartford led 4-1.

Catcher Isaias Lucena, called up from Greenville, singled in two runs in the fifth, closing to 4-3.

Hartford (3-8) scored two unearned runs in the seventh.

NOTES: First-base prospect Josh Ockimey, who had remained in Florida with a hamstring strain, was activated and played the first game (1 for 2, walk, RBI) … The announced paid attendance was 2,751.

CORRECTION: This file was updated at 11 a.m. on April 18 to show that Aneury Tavarez was a Rule V draft pick of the Orioles.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.