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Heroic Efforts from Many Carry Sox to Epic Sweep of Keys06/06/2009 2:25 AM ET
Frederick, MD (June 6, 2009) - Losers of five straight games, the Red Sox rediscovered the winning formula behind dominant pitching that held the Keys to just five hits in a marathon doubleheader at Harry Grove Stadium. Salem used five superb innings by Eammon Portice in game one to set the tone in game one's 5-1 victory before getting six frames of perfection from Casey Kelly in the nightcap. In game two, the clubs traded zeroes for nine innings, as Frederick's Brian Matusz was nearly as brilliant as Kelly over six-plus innings. With two outs in the top of the tenth, well past midnight in Frederick, the Red Sox scored five times on uber-clutch hitting from a plethora of contributors, closing the door on the Keys in a much-needed pair of victories.
The twinbill was supposed to begin at 5:00 PM, but due to continued rain and wet grounds, the first pitch was not thrown until nearly three hours later, at 7:59 PM. From the outset, it was clear it would be a late night.
Salem's Eammon Portice rejoined the roster and threw five sensational innings in game one. In making his first start since May 22, Portice allowed just three hits and gave up a single unearned tally to Frederick. Offensively, Mike Jones catapulted his fourth dinger of the year, a three-run blast that broke the scoreless draw in the third. Salem added runs in the sixth and seventh and Robert Coello closed the door with two scoreless innings in relief to pick up his first save in the 5-1 triumph, that did not end until 10:15 PM.
Thirty-three minutes later, Matusz unleashed pitch #1 of what would become a classic duel between 2008 first rounders. Though the Red Sox recorded five hits off Matusz, they could never break through as the fourth overall selection in the draft held the Red Sox at bay over six innings, extending his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 23.
Not many could have outperformed Matusz on this night, but Kelly rose to the occasion and graced Salem with an effort that exceeded dominance. Kelly faced 18 batters and retired them all over six innings of perfection, striking out six. Frederick finally broke through with a base hit in the bottom of the seventh against reliever Derrick Loop, but Pedro Florimon was stranded following his one-out double and the doubleheader progressed into extra innings (both games were supposed to be seven inning contests).
The zeros on the scoreboard continued in the eighth and ninth innings for both teams, and it looked like Salem would again be scoreless in the tenth after Kris Negron was caught trying to steal second base for the first out and Zach Borowiak took a called third strike from Keys reliever Cliff Flagello. But with two outs, what seemed like a potentially harmless two-out single from Jones became the catalyst for a monster rally. Jason Place launched a Flagello offering to deep center field, ringing the very top of the wall to drive in Jones for the game's first run. Place tripled, prolonging his hitting streak to 12 games, and set the stage for Luis Exposito's ensuing double on a flare down the right-field line, making the score 2-0. With Exposito at second, Che-Hsuan Lin walked and Jered Stanley reached on Florimon's error at shortstop, extending the inning and loading the bases for Will Vazquez. Already with his first multiple-hit game of the season under his belt, the versatile Vazquez drove a deep fly to straight-away center. The speedy Frederick center fielder Matt Angle, who had already robbed numerous Red Sox batters on the evening, came up just short in his leap, and the baseball nicked off the tip of the glove and dropped on the warning track. Three more runs scored on the bases-clearing triple and Salem had broken open the scoreless duel with five in the tenth.
With three scoreless innings in relief, Derrick Loop improved to 2-3 with the victory, while Cliff Flagello suffered his first loss of the year. Kyle Fernandes pitched a scoreless last of the tenth, surrendering Frederick's second and final hit in the dramatic ten-inning conclusion to the doubleheader, a game that finally ended at 1:46 AM eastern time.
Salem improved to 5-0 at Harry Grove Stadium on the year and kept pace with division-leading Winston-Salem in the Southern Division. With 15 games remaining in the first half, the Red Sox are five games behind the first-place Dash. Game three of the four-game set kicks off at 6:00 PM on Saturday evening, just over 16 hours after the doubleheader wrapped up. Righthander Dave McKae starts for Salem against Frederick's Pedro Beato as the road trip continues for the Sox.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.