Salem, VA - In a new city against a new team, the Wilmington Blue Rocks (5-6) were unable to continue their winning ways. The Salem Red Sox (7-5) used a nine-run, second inning en route to an 11-2 win over Wilmington Monday night at Hayley Toyota Field. Wander Franco continued his splendid start to the season, collecting a pair of hits and driving in one of the two runs for the Blue Rocks in the loss.
Salem solved the riddle that was Wilmington starter Foster Griffin. After Griffin only allowed an earned run through his first two starts, the ace of the staff was unable to produce the same success on the mound on Monday night. In the second inning, the Red Sox sent 15 men to the plate and scored nine runs. The frame included nine hits, three walks and was highlighted by a two-run homer by Josh Tobias.
Wilmington tacked on two runs in their half of the fifth inning. Anderson Miller led the inning with a single before Franco belted his third triple of the season to plate Miller for Wilmington's first run of the game. Roman Collins followed with an RBI groundout to make it 9-2. That would be the closest the Rocks came. Salem scored two more runs for good measure in the seventh when Bryan Hudson clubbed a two-run double to give the game its final score, 11-2.
Franco finished the game with a pair of hits and paces Wilmington's offense with a .348 batting average. With his triple, he is now tied for the Carolina League lead in triples. D.J. Burt tied a career-high with three walks in the game.
The Blue Rocks look to rebound on Tuesday, April 18 at Hayley Toyota Field in the middle game of the three-game set. RHP Scott Blewett (0-1, 7.71 ERA) gets the nod for Wilmington while LHP Daniel McGrath (0-1, 3.48 ERA) climbs the mound for Salem. Fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus will have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
Pebbles of Knowledge
Throughout the course of a long season, teams are bound to allow a big inning. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of Griffin who was recently named to the MLB Pipeline Minor League Team of the Week. The nine runs allowed in the second inning was the biggest inning surrendered by Wilmington and also the most runs allowed in a game all year. It was the first time Wilmington has allowed 11 runs since August 1, 2016 which was also against Salem.
Burt continues to be a second table setter behind lead-off man Nicky Lopez. On Monday night, the second baseman showed a keen eye and worked three walks. That mark tied a career-high which he originally set back on July 17, 2015 when he was a member of the Idaho Falls Chukars. Burt leads both the Blue Rocks and Carolina League with 11 walks.
Collins entered the game with the longest-active hitting streak on the Blue Rocks at eight games. On Monday night, it came to an end when the left fielder went 0-for-3. The eight straight games tied teammate Wander Franco who had his eight-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday against Potomac. However, Collins did extend his on-base streak to 11 games which is tied for the team's longest with Lopez, who also extended his on-base streak with a 1-for-4 performance at the plate.
With the lopsided loss, it is the largest margin of defeat for Wilmington this year. Their previous largest margin in a loss was two runs back on April 13 against Potomac. Through 11 games, the Rocks have played in seven, one-run games and have posted a 3-4 record in those contests.
THEY SAID IT: Jamie Quirk
On the mindset in lopsided game: "We don't have to use too many guys out of the bullpen and it worked out well. We only had to use two relievers to finish the game which was great for tomorrow and the next day. That was the biggest thing. (Colin) Rodgers gave us three plus and (Richard) Lovelady gave us three. That's the biggest thing is how are we going to get through this when your starter goes one plus (innings)."
"I thought with the tight strike zone, by no means am I blaming the umpire, but he (Griffin) thought he was going to get some pitches that he didn't get and I think that messed with him a little bit and he thought he had to throw more pitches over the plate. He didn't have quality pitches tonight, that was the main thing. It was the first time we saw Salem and they have a lot of good hitters, a lot of high averages early in the year. They took advantage of his poor command and got him."
"I told him (Franco) that was very nice (on hustling for infield single). He got a hit out of it, he hustled in a game that got out of control but he got a hit out of it and it was good for him."
On team's quality at-bats despite lopsided game: "I definitely thought that nobody gave up. It was an ugly game but you have to play nine innings and compete. They did that. You are going to have games like that and you have to forget about it. I told Foster (Griffin) just erase it from his memory bank. Get ready to pitch in five days and go from there. I'll tell the guys that it's one game and I don't care if it was 2-1 or 11-2, we have been playing good baseball. We show up tomorrow and go get them."
25 Years of Blue Rocks Baseball
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