PORTLAND, ME – The Thunder had dropped consecutive games to the Portland Sea Dogs, but rebounded with a convincing 8-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field.
The scoring started early for the Thunder, but it was some hustle and a big swing by a birthday boy that allowed Trenton to enjoy an early lead. Aaron Judge turned 23 years old Sunday, and he picked up right where he left off as a 22-year old. In the 5th inning, the Thunder led 3-0 when Mason Williams started the inning with a walk. Judge followed with his third home run of the season for a 5-0 lead. Greg Bird immediately followed with a home run of his own to make it 6-0 Thunder.
The home run by Judge snapped a streak of 179 at-bats without a homer from a Thunder batter, and was just the second homer by a Thunder hitter since Judge’s walk-off homer against the Sea Dogs at ARM & HAMMER Park on April 16th.
Starting pitcher Miguel Sulbaran pitched into the 6th inning and earned his second victory of the season. Through the first five innings, the southpaw allowed one hit before the Sea Dogs got to him for a pair of runs in the bottom of the 6th on a Keury De La Cruz two-run double. He turned the ball over to the bullpen with a 6-2 lead and Portland would get no closer the rest of the way. Relievers Johnny Barbato, Caleb Cotham and Mark Montgomery combined for 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen in which the Sea Dogs were able to muster just one hit.
Judge finished his birthday 2-for-4 with a homer, double, walk, three runs scored and two RBI. Bird was 2-for-4 with a walk, run scored and three RBI. Gary Sanchez and Williams each reached base four times for a prolific top of the lineup in which the top six hitters reached base a combined 17 times.
The Thunder return to action Monday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, NH against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. RHP Taylor Garrison (1-0, 1.88) gets the start for the Thunder, and he will be opposed by RHP Casey Lawrence (0-3, 3.57) for the Fisher Cats. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. with a 6:20 p.m. pre-game show on the Trenton Thunder Radio Network.