LILLINGTON, NC (Thursday, April 12) - The Salem Red Sox couldn't come back from a major early deficit in their first 2018 road game Thursday night, falling 6-3 to the Buies Creek Astros at Jim Perry Stadium.
The Sox (6-2) committed a season-worst four errors in the field, leading to three unearned runs, and didn't get on the scoreboard until the seventh inning. The Astros (4-4) relied on a dominant outing from their starter, as Buies Creek hurlers fanned 14 batters in the game. It was a disappointing beginning to Salem's road slate in 2018, as the team went 33-37 away from home in 2017. It also ended a four-game winning streak for the Sox.
Buies Creek opened the scoring in a big way in the bottom of the first against Salem starter Jake Thompson (L, 0-1), who gave up a leadoff walk to Ronnie Dawson. Dawson pilfered second base, and advanced to third when Josh Rojas reached on a throwing error by shortstop Santiago Espinal. The Astros stayed aggressive, sending Rojas to steal second. Catcher Jhon Nunez threw to second, but his throw skipped into center field, allowing Dawson to race home and letting Rojas hustle to third base. Abraham Toro then lashed a double to right to score Rojas. With one out, Osvaldo Duarte tripled Toro home, and Troy Sieber grounded out to short to score Duarte. When the dust had cleared, the Sox trailed 4-0.
The Astros extended their lead in the top of the second. With two outs, Dawson singled to right, and Rojas smashed a triple to right. Dawson scored, and second baseman Brett Netzer's relay throw to third kicked away and went out of play. The miscue meant Rojas was waved home for another run, and Buies Creek went ahead 6-0.
After Astros starter Brandon Bielak (W, 1-1) stifled the Sox through the first five innings, Salem finally broke through in the top of the seventh against reliever Hector Perez. Jerry Downs drew a leadoff walk, and moved up to second when Nunez grounded out to first. Ryan Scott worked a walk of his own, and Tyler Hill dropped a single into right field. Downs sped in for a run, and Scott moved up to third. Perez fired a wild pitch that went far from catcher Chuckie Robinson, letting Scott race home and Hill move up to second base. With two away, Chris Madera hit a bloop single to left-center, and Hill was able to come around to score and cut the lead to 6-3. That was as close as Salem would get, though, as reliever Ronel Blanco (S, 1) shut the Sox down over the last two innings to close the game.
Thompson got touched up for six runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks in five innings; he struck out two batters. Jordan Weems dealt three no-hit innings of relief, allowing just one walk while whiffing three.
The Sox will try to get back on the winning track Friday night. Southpaw Darwinzon Hernandez takes the ball for Salem against Astros righty Carson LaRue. 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.