A.J. Politi’s trial as a starting pitcher continues to evolve, with his best effort Thursday night before 1,367 at Hadlock Field.

Politi struck out seven over six innings, allowing four hits and two runs in the Portland Sea Dogs’ 4-2 win over the Hartford Yard Goats.

Ronaldo Hernandez and Ryan Fitzgerald both doubled twice, and Jeisson Rosario added a two-run double to spark the Sea Dogs (13-8).

Politi, 24, a 15th-round draft pick out of Seton Hall in 2018, has mostly been a reliever, with an occasional spot start, until this season.

The results had been a struggle, with an 0-3 record and 6.46 ERA. But Politi began Thursday with a purpose – needing only nine pitches (eight strikes) for a 1-2-3 first. He was commanding his 93 mph fastball and his off-speed offerings.

Politi put in his longest professional start, picking up his first win this season.

“He set the tone, using all his pitches,” Sea Dogs Manager Corey Wimberly said. “Good tempo throughout the game.”

Politi gave up three straight hits, and a run, to start the second inning, but then stranded two runners with two strikeouts and a groundout.

“That was a big moment in the game,” Wimberly said. “You saw the momentum shift. Damage control is what we preach to our pitchers.”

Portland’s offense backed Politi with 11 hits. In the second inning, the Sea Dogs tied it on back-to-back doubles from Hernandez and Fitzgerald. When Fitzgerald doubled again in the seventh, it was his team-leading 11th.

In the fourth inning, Grant Williams began a two-out rally, beating out a bouncer past the mound for a single.

Williams, who excelled in spring training and made the Double-A roster, went 2 for 4, raising his average to .333. Williams has 51 at-bats this season, and zero strikeouts.

“He’s a grinder,” Wimberly said. “He battles a lot, and he doesn’t give away ABs. He brings energy to our team.”

After Williams’ fourth-inning single, Jeremy Rivera was hit by a pitch, bringing up Rosario, against Hartford starter Karl Kauffmann (0-2). Rosario sent a long fly that dropped into the left-field corner, scoring two for a 3-1 lead.

Kauffmann, the Rockies’ second-round draft pick out of the University of Michigan in 2019, was making only his fourth professional start, and second in Double-A.

Politi allowed a run in the sixth – Matt Heam doubled, stole third and scored on a grounder – but the Sea Dogs got the run back in the bottom of the inning (Rivera and Rosario singles and an infield error).

Jose Adames, the 28-year-old minor league free agent, recorded his fifth save in five chances with a 1-2-3 ninth, including a strikeout on a 100 mph fastball.

NOTES: Sea Dogs left-hander Enmanuel De Jesus became the second Portland player to join his country’s team for the Olympic baseball qualifying tournament next week in Florida. De Jesus, 24, will pitch for his native Venezuela. Earlier, first baseman Triston Casas left Portland to join the U.S. team (along with another Red Sox prospect, outfielder Jarren Duran). One of DeJesus’ teammates is former Sea Dogs and major league pitcher Anibal Sanchez. DeJesus was replaced on the Sea Dogs’ roster by veteran right-hander Seth Blair, down from Triple-A Worcester.


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