FREDERICK, MD-The Frederick Keys utilized a quick start, a balk and Red Sox troubles with runners in scoring position to top Salem 5-4 on Tuesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. With the win and losses by Lynchburg and Wilmington, the orange and black are within a half-game of the wildcard spot. Winners of five straight, the Keys are now 29-33 in the second-half CL North standings.
Frederick started off quickly against Sox starter Simon Mercedes. Johnny Ruettiger opened things off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a single by Adrian Marin. Two batters later, Chih-Hsien Chiang drove home Ruettiger, before Jason Esposito followed with a single to left to make it 2-0.
That lead doubled in the second, as the Keys tallied five straight singles off Simon Mercedes. With men at first and second, Ruettiger plated Hutter before Mancini drove in Pena.
Matt Taylor faced only one over the minimum through two innings, before allowing an RBI single to Reed Gragnani in the third which scored Leonel Escobar. Still, Taylor limited the damage to just a run, getting a double play with the bases loaded to end the threat. That missed opportunity would be a foreshadowing of what was to come for Salem with runners on scoring position. On the night, the Sox went 1-for-9 with men at second and third.
Taylor walked three in the fifth and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch, but used his second double play of the game and a flyball out to complete five innings. His longest start since coming back from the disabled list, the Georgian allowed two runs on four hits. He walked five and struck out a pair.
In the home-fifth, the Keys added one more run in unusual fashion. After recording a double, Mancini was tagged out at home on a fielder's choice to the left side. Aboard at first, Wynston Sawyer (single) and Brenden Webb (walk) reached base before a balk on Mercedes (4-10) forced in the eventual winning run. Hit with the loss, Salem's starter gave up five runs over five innings on 10 hits.
Salem pulled within a pair in the eighth, thanks to sac-flies by Jantzen Witte and Mario Martinez, but the Keys held on in the ninth, as Lex Rutledge used a double play and a groundout to the mound to end the game.
Frederick and Salem play a doubleheader on Wednesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Steven Brault (1-0, 0.00) makes the game one start for the Keys and will be countered by Sox righty Heri Quevedo (1-0, 2.45) in game one. Brady Wager (6-8, 5.58) takes the ball in game two for the orange and black against William Cuevas (2-6, 4.75). First pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m. and both broadcasts can be heard on 1450 AM The Source. For tickets, fans can call 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com.