When the Portland Sea Dogs took a 1-0 lead in the first inning Sunday afternoon, the lingering concern was if the game could continue long enough to be official, with a light rain starting to fall.

The Sea Dogs kept scoring.

The rain continued.

And the teams played on.

As the precipitation fluctuated between drops and a drenching mist, the Sea Dogs put in a hearty effort and beat the Hartford Yard Goats, 5-0, before a socially-distanced Hadlock Field crowd of 2,087, which dwindled quickly in the later innings.

“It was uncomfortable,” said Sea Dogs Manager Corey Wimberly, a native of Jacksonville, Florida. “It was really cold and really wet, and I could not figure out which was worse.”

Denyi Reyes (2-0) made his first start of the season. He worked fast and threw strikes – a must on Sunday – and picked up the win with five scoreless innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out two.

Reyes, 24, has had an up-and-down career in the Red Sox organization. He showed enough as a Sea Dogs starter in 2019 for the Red Sox to put him on the 40-man roster. He was designated for assignment last year, however, then re-signed to a minor league contract. He has been in Portland’s bullpen this season, serving as a long reliever.

On Sunday, Reyes again relied on his command, with a fastball in the high 80s but balanced with an effective change-up.

“He executed the game plan, exactly what we expected today,” Wimberly said. “Once he could get to ahead in counts, he could put guys away.”

Reyes and four relievers limited the Yard Goats to seven hits. Hartford didn’t get a runner to third base until the ninth.

Meanwhile, the Sea Dogs had lots of base runners. They had eight hits, five walks and a hit batter, and were assisted by four Hartford errors. Four of Portland’s runs were unearned.

Grant Williams, Joey Meneses and Ronaldo Hernandez each had two hits for the Sea Dogs.

Meneses reached in the first inning on an error. Johan Mieses then hit a fly ball to right that was misplayed into a double, driving home Meneses as Mieses got his team-leading 22nd RBI.

Portland added two unearned runs in the fourth off Hartford starter Frank Duncan (1-2). Reyes quickly retired the side in the fifth – making the game official.

The rain did not pick up, and the umps never showed signs of stopping the game, despite temperatures in the 40s.

Hernandez singled home Williams in the seventh for the only earned run. In the ninth, Williams walked and scored on a dropped ball in the outfield.

Portland wrapped up its first month of the season with a 15-9 record, 1½ games out of first place in the Northeast Division of the Northeast League.

“The guys come to the ballpark with one mindset: Win today,” Wimberly said. “You’re seeing their hard work come into play.”

NOTES: Williams went 2 for 4, upping his average to a team-leading .333. His season-long non-strikeout streak is now at 63 at-bats. The left-handed hitting Williams fell behind 0-2 in the ninth against lefty Brian Gonzalez, but then worked a nine-pitch walk. … Jake Thompson was the most efficient of Portland’s relievers, needing only five pitches (all strikes) to retire the side in the seventh. … Portland’s Ryan Fitzgerald was a middle infielder in college (Creighton). As a pro, he has also played third base, and one game at first. This year, Fitzgerald is adding the outfield to his repertoire. He made his second start in center field, catching three fly balls and one line drive. … The Sea Dogs take their longest bus ride of their season Monday – a 490-mile trek to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The pandemic-influenced 2021 schedule has the Sea Dogs leaving New England only four times. … The next game at Hadlock is June 8, when the New Hampshire Fisher Cats visit. All seats will be available.


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