Devlin Granberg saved his best game in the Carolina League for the most important time of the year.
The Red Sox prospect collected three hits, including a home run, and three RBIs to lead Class A Advanced Salem to an 8-3 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-5 Carolina League semifinals.
Gameday box score
Granberg started his first full season as a pro with Class A Greenville and put up a .286/.386/.434 slash line in 99 South Atlantic League games. He earned a promotion to Salem on Aug. 7 but batted .222 with a .562 OPS over the final 25 games.
In the postseason opener, the 2018 sixth-round pick wasted no time getting things going. Garrett Benge led off the first inning with a double to center field and Ryan Fitzgerald singled up the middle to set the table for Granberg. On a 2-0 offering from third-ranked Royals prospect Daniel Lynch, he smashed a three-run jack over the right-center field fence for his first Carolina League homer.
Granberg struck out in the second, then smacked a single off Lynch in the fifth and scored on Keith Curcio's knock to left. He added a single to left off lefty Robert Garcia in the sixth before Marcelo Martinez retired him on a comebacker in the eighth.
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The Dallas Baptist product hadn't recorded a three-hit game since July 15 with Greenville.
There was plenty of support in the lineup in Game 1, with Curcio finishing a double shy of the cycle with two RBIs and two runs scored. Garrett Benge and Kole Cottam chipped in three hits apiece as the Red Sox totaled 17.
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Enmanuel De Jesus (1-0) allowed three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings to pick up the victory.
Lynch (0-1) surrendered a career-high six runs and 12 hits, including two homers, fanning six in four frames.
Game 2 is Thursday in Salem.
In other Carolina League action:
Game 1: Down East 3, Fayetteville 0 | Game 2: Fayetteville 3, Down East 0
The Wood Ducks jumped ahead in the first game of the other semifinal behind a strong performance from Sal Mendez (1-0). The southpaw logged 6 1/3 innings and allowed two hits and three walks while fanning three. Joe Kuzia allowed a hit and walk but recorded the final two outs to pick up the save. Rangers No. 8 prospect Bubba Thompson ripped a RBI ground-rule double in the second, while 25th-ranked Julio Pablo Martinez contributed two hits and scored a run. Gameday box score
The script was flipped in Game 2 as the Woodpeckers staff took control behind Austin Hansen (1-0), who gave up four hits and a walk with three strikeouts across 5 1/3 innings for the win. Ninth-ranked Astros prospect Jeremy Pena broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the third. David Hensley drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning. Down East hosts Game 3 on Friday. Gameday box score