SALEM, VA (Thursday, August 10, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox got the bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom of the 10th inning but couldn't bring home the tying run, dropping a 7-6 decision to the league-leading Buies Creek Astros Thursday night at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
The Sox (25-22, 65-51) came up just short against the Astros, who took the series two games to one. Buies Creek (31-15, 68-48) nipped the Sox by a run for the second consecutive night. The Sox finish 6-3 on the season against the Astros, who own the league's best record since the All-Star break.
Buies Creek got the scoring going in the top of the first against Sox starting pitcher Matthew Kent, who allowed a one-out single to Stephen Wrenn before Wrenn swiped second base. Jake Rogers drew a walk, and Yordan Alvarez singled to right to plate Wrenn and put the Astros ahead 1-0.
Salem answered in the bottom of the first against Astros starter Cionel Perez. Chris Madera rapped the first pitch to left for a single, and advanced to second on a one-out single by Conrad Gregor. Jose Sermo then doubled to score Madera, evening the ballgame at 1-1.
The Astros reclaimed the lead in the top of the third. Wrenn and Rogers cracked consecutive singles to begin the frame, and Alvarez knocked a single to right field, scoring Wren and moving Rogers to third. Alvarez himself advanced to second when Tate Matheny's throw in from center was off line. Taylor Jones bounced out to shortstop Jeremy Rivera, allowing Rogers to score. A passed ball by Tyler Spoon let Alvarez get to third, and Kent loosed a wild pitch that scored the runner, making it a 4-1 lead for the Astros. Buies Creek added another in the top of the fourth, as Wrenn and Rogers ripped consecutive doubles for a 5-1 lead.
The Sox drew level in the bottom of the fourth. Sermo singled to start the frame, and Jordan Betts drew a walk to advance him to second base. Tate Matheny laced an RBI single to center, scoring Sermo and putting Betts at second. Rei earned a walk to load the bases, and Mike Meyers took advantage, slapping a single to right to score Betts and Matheny. Tyler Spoon fanned for the first out, and Madera flew out to Wrenn in right. Wrenn threw home, trying to catch Rei in a sacrifice fly, and Meyers started toward second. The throw got past catcher Jake Rogers to Perez, who airmailed a throw into center, allowing Rei to score the tying run and knotting the score at 5-5.
Buies Creek slid back in front in the top of the sixth against Sox reliever Pat Goetze, who gave up a leadoff single to Myles Straw. The speedy Straw swiped second base, and came in to score on a two-out single by Alvarez, giving the Astros a 6-5 edge.
The Sox tied it up once more in the bottom of the eighth against Astros reliever Justin Ferrell. With one out, Matheny mashed a triple to deep right, and Rei plated him with a sacrifice fly to even the score at 6-6.
In the top of the ninth inning, Daniel McGrath (L, 2-8) gave up a leadoff double to Carmen Benedetti, but recovered to fan Anibal Sierra and get a fly out to shallow center by Rodrigo Ayarza. Straw ripped a liner to right, but Madera made a sprawling catch to end the frame with the score tied. Salem got Madera aboard in the bottom of the inning with one out against reliever Sean Stutzman (W, 1-1), but Rivera bounced into an inning-ending double play to send the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, Wrenn led off with a single against McGrath, and two passed balls by catcher Jhon Nunez got him to third base. Alvarez took advantage, slashing a double up the right field line to score Wrenn and put Buies Creek back in front 7-6.
The Sox threatened in the bottom of the 10th, as Gregor earned a leadoff walk and moved up to third on a double up the right field line by Sermo. Stutzman and the Astros intentionally walked Betts to load the bases. Matheny hit a chopper to third that Randy Cesar whipped home to retire Gregor, and Rogers fired to third base to nab Sermo on a 5-4-6 double play. Rei hit a deep fly ball that looked like it could win the game for Salem, but Wrenn ran it down at the warning track for the final out.
Kent allowed five runs on a season-worst 10 hits and two walks in five innings, fanning six and taking a no-decision. Goetze gave up a run on four hits and a walk in three innings of action, recording one strikeout. McGrath took the loss, allowing an unearned run on three hits in two innings while whiffing four.
The Sox open a critical three-game series against their division rival Wilmington Blue Rocks on Friday, with righty Mike Shawaryn due to make the start for the Sox against Blue Rocks right-hander Jared Ruxer. First pitch from Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark is at 7:05 p.m., and Ben Gellman's pregame show starts at 6:45 p.m. on ESPN Roanoke, ESPN Blacksburg, and on the Red Sox Radio Network online.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.