BUIES CREEK, NC (May 10, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox ran off a big inning early and didn't look back, topping the Buies Creek Astros 7-2 Wednesday night at Jim Perry Stadium in Buies Creek.
The Red Sox (21-11) earned a win for the sixth time in their last seven games, and will have a chance Thursday to earn a three-game sweep. Buies Creek (20-13) fell victim to a crucially-timed error in the top of the second, and went 1-12 with runners in scoring position. Salem is now a season-best 10 games above .500 with the win.
The home team opened the scoring in the bottom of the first against Sox starter Matthew Kent (W, 2-2), who allowed a bloop double to Jason Martin to lead off the frame. Myles Straw advanced Martin to third on a groundout, and a groundout to first by Kyle Tucker scored Martin to make it 1-0 Buies Creek.
The Sox responded in a big way in the top of the second against Astros starting pitcher Hector Perez (L, 1-1), who issued walks to the first two batters in Trenton Kemp and Austin Rei. Jose Sermo flew out to center, but Bryan Hudson drew a walk to load the bases. Nick Lovullo hit a bouncer to second baseman Ryne Birk, but shortstop Anibal Sierra dropped the toss; Kemp scored from third, and the bases remained loaded on the miscue. Tate Matheny struck out swinging, but Chad De La Guerra singled up the middle to plate Rei and keep the bases loaded. Michael Chavis then worked a bases-loaded walk to score Hudson and chase Perez from the game in favor of reliever Sebastian Kessay. Josh Ockimey welcomed Kessay to the game with a hard single to center, plating Lovullo and De La Guerra to make it a 5-1 lead for Salem.
Buies Creek chipped away in the top of the second inning, as Kent plunked Birk to start the frame. Christian Correa singled Birk to second, and Birk moved up to third base on a fielder's choice by Johnny Sewald that retired Correa at second base. With runners at the corners, Kent picked off Sewald, who got in a rundown that allowed Birk to score, cutting the lead to 5-2.
Salem ran the lead back out to four runs in the top of the fifth, as Jose Sermo smashed a one-out homer off new reliever Elieser Hernandez. Sermo was also responsible for the last run the Sox would score in the top of the seventh, as Kemp drew a one-out walk from Hernandez and Rei was hit by a pitch before Sermo singled Kemp home with one out to make it 7-2, where the score would stay.
Kent earned his second win of the season, allowing two runs on seven hits and one walk in six innings while fanning three. Gerson Bautista tossed two scoreless frames of relief with one walk and three strikeouts. Austin Glorius gave up a walk and a hit batter in one inning and struck out one to finish the game for Salem.
The Sox will aim for the sweep Thursday night, with righty Roniel Raudes starting for Salem against Astros righty Hector Perez. First pitch at Jim Perry Stadium is set for 7:00 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.