(SALEM, VA) - The Salem Red Sox scored 16 runs in the first three innings and held off a Potomac Nationals rally to beat the P-Nats 16-14. On a hot night with the wind blowing out, the P-Nats scored the final seven runs of the game in a loss.
The Nationals got off to a hot start against Salem starter RHP Matt Barnes who came into the game with the third best ERA in all of MiLB. Four straight singles to start the game plus a sac fly gave Potomac a 3-0 lead after a half inning. Barnes pitched just the first inning giving up three runs.
Rehabber RHP Cole Kimball got the start for Potomac and was roughed up by the Red Sox. Shannon Wilkerson and Heiker Meneses led off the game with back-to-back home runs. Xander Bogaerts added a two-run shot and chased Kimball from the game who tossed two-thirds of an inning giving up four runs. Matt Grace replaced Kimball and gave up two unearned runs and the Red Sox led 6-3 after an inning.
After the P-Nats scored in the second, the Red Sox would send up 12 batters in a eight run second inning. It was highlighted by Brandon Jacobs who had a two-run homer to start the scoring in the inning and finished the inning with an RBI single. Travis Shaw and Sean Coyle each had two-run doubles in the inning as well. The Red Sox built their biggest lead of the game 14-4 after two innings. Grace gave up 10 runs with just three earned for the Nationals.
Jason Martinson led off the third with a opposite field solo shot for the P-Nats who scored two more runs to bring the score within 14-7 going into the bottom of the third. But, Salem again increased the lead with Michael Almanzar hitting a homer off of Matt Swynenberg down the left field line. They added another run to take a 16-7 lead going into the fourth.
Swynenberg settled down and tossed four straight scoreless frames to give the Nationals a chance.
Potomac started to chip away at the lead with a sac fly in the sixth that cut the lead to 16-8 for Salem. They added five runs in the seventh with four straight hits to start the inning and a two-out two-run triple from Martinson making the score 16-13.
The final scoring chance for the Nationals was the eighth against Salem closer All-Star Mike Olmsted. The P-Nats had a run in to cut the lead to 16-14 and runners at first and second with one out. But a strike out and fly out ended the rally and kept the Salem advantage at two runs.
Olmsted tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances to preserve a 16-14 Salem victory. Kimball (0-1) took the loss becoming the third Potomac rehabber to lose a game. Ryan Pressly (5-3) was awarded the win by tossing two innings giving up just one run.
The Red Sox belted five homers to the Nationals one. Martinson ended up 3-for-5 with four RBI for the Nationals. Francisco Soriano scored four times as the lead off batter. Salem had just two hits after the third inning.
The Nationals and Red Sox continue their series tomorrow at 7:05 PM. RHP Nathan Karns (2-2, 3.00) takes the hill for the P-Nats against RHP Brandon Workman (5-3, 2.78) of Salem. Potomac returns home July 4th facing the Frederick Keys at 6:35 PM to start a six game home-stand. The Potomac Nationals are celebrating their 35th Anniversary of professional baseball and family fun, for all your ticket needs please call the box office at 703-590-2311 or visit www.potomacnationals.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.