The Salem Red Sox walked a fine line and came out victorious Sunday afternoon, topping the Potomac Nationals 5-2 at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia.
The Red Sox (24-12) took advantage of errors, wild pitches and balks, making the most of their opportunities and securing a 5-1 record on the six-game road trip. Potomac (18-18) tied the game in the bottom of the second inning but fell behind in the fourth before wasting two late opportunities. Salem moved to a season-best 12 games above .500 with the win.
Salem opened the scoring in the top of the first inning against Potomac starter Jefry Rodriguez (L, 3-2). Trenton Kemp drew a one-out walk, and moved up to second on a Rodriguez balk. A wild pitch advanced Kemp to third before Michael Chavis earned his own walk to put runners at the corners. Josh Ockimey struck out looking, and Jose Sermo hit a slow bouncer to second. However, Bryan Mejia mishandled the ball, and Kemp sped home for the first run. Kyri Washington then lined a single into right field, scoring Chavis and making it 2-0 in favor of Salem.
Potomac halved the lead in the bottom of the first against Sox starting pitcher Daniel Gonzalez (ND), making his Salem debut. Leadoff man Victor Robles doubled to left, and scooted home on a two-out single by Ian Sagdal to make it a 2-1 game. The Nationals tied the ballgame in the bottom of the second after Matt Page singled to start the frame, and a two-out single by Kelvin Gutierrez plated Page to tie the score at 2-2.
The Sox retook the lead for good in the top of the fourth inning. Chad De La Guerra led off with a single, and Washington doubled him to third base. With one out, Jordan Betts banged a double off the left-field wall, scoring both runners and making it to second. Nick Lovullo singled, putting runners at the corners, and with Bryan Hudson at the plate, Rodriguez was called for another balk, bringing home Betts for the Sox and extending their lead to 5-2. The Nats got the potential tying run on base in the seventh and to the plate in the eighth, but Austin Glorius (H, 1) and Bobby Poyner (S, 3) held off the hosts for the win.
Gonzalez surrendered two runs on seven hits and two walks over three innings in his first game for the Salem Sox, and took a no-decision. Jordan Weems (W, 4-1) relieved him and earned the victory with three shutout innings, featuring one strikeout against two walks and one hit. Glorius allowed two hits and two walks in 1.1 innings, striking out two for a hold. Poyner earned his third save of the season, fanning four in 1.2 frames and allowing just one hit.
The Sox will look to bring their winning ways home Monday evening against the Frederick Keys in the first game of a four-game series and an eight-game homestand. Lefty Matthew Kent will start for Salem against Keys righty Ofelky Peralta. First pitch at Haley Toyota Field is set for 7:05 p.m., and Ben Gellman's pregame show starts at 6:45 on the Red Sox Radio Network.
The Carolina League All-Star Game returns to Salem on Tuesday, June 20 at Haley Toyota Field. As part of a celebration of 50 years of Carolina League baseball in the Roanoke Valley, the Red Sox will host a skills competition on Monday, June 19. The skills competition will take place at historic Kiwanis Field, the original home of Carolina League baseball in Salem. All 2017 Salem Red Sox season ticket holders will have tickets to the skills competition and the All-Star Classic at Haley Toyota Field included in their ticket package.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.