SALEM, VA (Wednesday, April 10) - The Salem Red Sox overcame grounding into four double plays and blowing a two-run lead in the fifth to down the Wilmington Blue Rocks 7-4 and secure a series sweep Wednesday night at Haley Toyota Field.
The Sox (6-1) didn't have an extra-base hit but didn't need one to get the win Wednesday night, even despite matching a Red Sox-era record four double plays (last done July 2, 2015 at Myrtle Beach). The Blue Rocks (2-5) kept going cold in scoring opportunities, batting just 2-9 in such situations. That represented an improvement over their season line, which now stands at nine hits in 70 at bats for a batting average of .129.
Salem got the scoring going in the bottom of the first against Blue Rocks starter Jace Vines (L, 0-2). Chris Madera led off with a single, snapping a hitless skid of 13 at-bats. Madera then swiped second and scooted to third when Vines' pitch skittered past catcher Meibrys Viloria. Brett Netzer then executed perfectly in the scoring situation, grounding out softly to the right side and giving Madera enough time to come home to give Salem a 1-0 lead.
Wilmington drew level in the top of the third against Salem starter Roniel Raudes (ND). Nick Heath dropped a perfect bunt for a single to lead off the inning, and stole second before Rudy Martin worked a walk. With one away, Kort Peterson lofted a single into center, plating Heath and sending Martin to third. Raudes was able to quell the rally by inducing a double play, but the Blue Rocks exited the inning having tied the score at 1-1.
Salem edged back ahead in the bottom of the fifth, as Bobby Dalbec and Jerry Downs led off the frame with consecutive singles. Ryan Scott bounced into a 5-4-3 double play that left Dalbec at third base. Tyler Hill hit a liner that shortstop Angelo Castellano muffed, allowing Hill to reach first and Dalbec to cross the plate for a 2-1 Salem lead.
Wilmington took hold of the lead in the top of the fifth against new reliever Jared Oliver (W, 1-0), who came in with one out and the bases empty only to walk Gabriel Cancel. Cancel stole second, and with two outs, Chris DeVito sliced a single to center, plating Cancel before Chase Vallot belted a fastball over the left-field wall. The two-run dinger was Vallot's first homer of the season, and it put Wilmington in front 4-2.
The Sox reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Carlos Tovar singled to right to lead things off, and Nick Sciortino worked a walk to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Madera cracked a single to center, and Tovar zipped home, with Sciortino winding up at second on the single. Netzer flew out to right field, and Sciortino hustled to third base on the play. That brought up Dalbec, who hit a soft ground-out to short that brought in Sciortino to tie the score and moved Madera up to second base. Downs then wasted no time punching a single into right that Madera scored upon, giving the home team a 5-4 lead.
Salem extended their advantage in the bottom of the seventh against reliever Justin Camp, who surrendered a single to Sciortino before plunking Madera and giving up a single to Netzer to load the bases with nobody out. Dalbec took advantage, cracking a single to left that brought home Sciortino and Madera and ran the lead to 7-4.
Raudes took a no-decision, allowing one run on three hits and three walks in 4.1 innings. He fanned six and hit a batter. Oliver gave up three runs on two hits and three walks while fanning two in 1.2 innings. Algenis Martinez (S, 1) delivered three innings of shutout relief, scattering three hits and fanning four for his first save.
The Sox will hit the road for the first time Thursday as they head to Jim Perry Stadium to face the Buies Creek Astros. Right-hander Jake Thompson takes the bump for Salem against Astros righty Hector Perez. First pitch from Jim Perry Stadium is at 7:00 p.m., and the pregame show with Ben Gellman begins at 6:45 p.m. on the Red Sox radio network.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.