Sox Come Up Short in 6-5 Loss to Keys

Gregor Slugs Second Homer in Loss

Conrad Gregor put Salem ahead in the top of the fifth with a two-run homer. (John Wacher)

By Ben Gellman / Salem Red Sox | August 29, 2017 11:23 PM ET

FREDERICK, MD (Tuesday, August 29, 2017) - The Sox came out on the wrong end of a back-and-forth game Tuesday night, dropping a 6-5 decision to the Frederick Keys at Harry Grove Stadium.

The Sox (32-32, 71-60) had a lead in the bottom of the seventh but blew it, and wound up stranding the bases loaded in the top of the ninth. Frederick (32-32, 63-70) drew even with Salem for the "wild card" spot in the Mills Cup playoffs, with two games remaining between the teams in the series to help determine a tie-breaker. If Salem wins either of the remaining games between the clubs, they'd own the tie-breaker.

Frederick opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning against Salem starter Logan Boyd, who walked leadoff man Yermin Mercedes. Jomar Reyes singled Mercedes to second base with one away, and Shane Hoelscher doubled to left to plate Mercedes and put Frederick ahead 1-0.

Salem drew level in the top of the fourth against Frederick starting pitcher Reid Love. With two outs, Jordan Betts and Tate Matheny each singled, and Chris Madera knocked Betts home with a single of his own to knot things up at 1-1.

The Sox moved ahead in the top of the fifth. With Jeremy Rivera at first and two away, Conrad Gregor blasted a two-run homer over the right-field wall. The big fly put the Sox in front 3-1.

That lead was short-lived, as Frederick drew even in the bottom of the inning. Boyd walked Chris Clare to start the inning, and a one-out single by Brallan Perez put runners at first and second. Boyd got Ademar Rifaela to fly out to left, but a double by Glynn Davis scored the runners and tied the game at 3-3.

In the bottom of the seventh, Boyd got the first two batters out before being pulled for reliever Austin Glorius. The new arm gave up a single to Perez, and Rifaela belted a 2-2 fastball to right for a homer, putting the Keys in front. Glorius was ejected when a fastball rode high and tight on Davis, and Marc Brakeman (L, 0-3) entered to fan Davis and end the inning, but the Sox still trailed 5-3.

Salem got even again in the top of the eighth against reliever Jefri Hernandez (BS, 1; W, 3-0). Betts led off with a double to left, and Matheny hit a bouncer that Perez bobbled at second, allowing Betts to reach third and Matheny to make it to first. Madera lashed a double to right, plating Betts and moving Matheny to third base. Austin Rei singled to right, allowing Matheny to cross the plate. However, Madera was thrown out at home, with Rei reaching second on the play. Hernandez recovered to strike out Tyler Spoon and Mike Meyers, ending the frame with the score tied at 5-5. 

In the bottom of the inning, Brakeman walked Mercedes and Rifaela to start the inning. Reyes lined out to Madera in shallow right for the first out, but a passed ball by Rei allowed the runners to move to second and third. Brakeman fanned Shane Hoelscher, but with Clare at the plate, he uncorked a wild pitch, bringing Mercedes home with the go-ahead run to make it 6-5 Frederick.

The Sox threatened in the top of the ninth. With one out, Gregor singled, and was pulled for pinch runner Bryan Hudson. Sermo bashed a ground-rule double to left, putting runners at second and third. Hernandez struck out Betts, and intentionally walked Matheny to load the bases before striking out Madera for the last out and ending the game.

Boyd took a no-decision, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks while fanning six in 6.2 innings. Glorius gave up two run on two hits without recording an out. Brakeman took the loss, allowing an unearned run on two walks while fanning three in 1.1 innings.

The Sox will try to get back ahead of Frederick Wednesday, with lefty Logan Boyd scheduled to start for Salem against Frederick righty Cristian Alvarado. First pitch from Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium is at 7:00 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.

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