SALEM, VA (Monday, April 16) - The Salem Red Sox broke out of their offensive malaise Monday night with four runs and eight hits, but were outmatched by the offense of the Potomac Nationals as they dropped a 9-4 decision at Haley Toyota Field in Salem.
The Sox (7-5) took their third straight loss, having been shutout 5-0 on both Saturday and Sunday by the Buies Creek Astros. Potomac (7-5) batted around in the fourth inning, sending seven runs home, and never trailed. Salem's first run of the game came with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, snapping a 23-inning scoreless stretch dating back to Friday's 4-2 win over Buies Creek.
Potomac opened the scoring in the top of the fourth inning against Sox starter Roniel Raudes (L, 1-1), who gave up a one-out single to Jake Noll before a balk and a wild pitch sent Noll to second and third, respectively. Jakson Reetz blooped a single to center, scoring Noll. Rhett Wiseman hit a single of his own, and Jack Sundberg hit a single that scored Reetz, with the runners making it to second and third on the throw. Raudes then walked David Masters, loading the bases. Salem manager Joe Oliver went to the bullpen, bringing in reliever Algenis Martinez. The righty gave up a sacrifice fly to Bryan Mejia, and walked Blake Perkins to load the bases once more. Carter Kieboom made the reliever pay, crushing one over the wall in left center for a grand slam. It was the first granny against Salem since Troy Stokes Jr. did it for the Carolina Mudcats on June 13, 2017, and it put Potomac ahead 7-0.
Salem got a run back in the bottom of the inning against Potomac starting pitcher Sterling Sharp. Chris Madera eked out a two-out walk, and scooted to second base on a single by Tyler Hill. Jhon Nunez hit a hard grounder that Masters knocked down at third, but Hill beat the throw to second and Mejia couldn't handle the ball cleanly, allowing it to skitter into right field. Hill hustled to third, and Madera zipped home to put Salem on the board trailing 7-1.
The Sox edged closer in the bottom of the fifth frame. Santiago Espinal cracked a leadoff double to left, and moved up to third on a groundout by Brett Netzer. Bobby Dalbec then turned a fastball inside out, sending it screaming over the left field wall for a no-doubt two-run homer to cut Potomac's lead to 7-3.
The Nats got one back against Martinez in the top of the seventh. Austin Davidson slashed a one-out double to left, and came in when Noll dropped an RBI single into center to extend the lead to 8-3. The Sox loaded the bases against reliever Steven Fuentes (W, 1-1) in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn't bring anyone in to score, leaving the bases loaded.
Potomac plated one more in the top of the eighth, as reliever Jordan Weems surrendered a two-out single with runners at first and second to Perkins, scoring Sundberg and running the lead to 9-3. Salem earned that run back in the bottom of the inning, as Ryan Scott led off the frame with a single to right. Trenton Kemp worked a walk, and Santiago Espinal hit a bouncer to shortstop. Kieboom flipped to Mejia at second for an out, but the second baseman airmailed the throw into the Potomac dugout. The error sent Scott home, trimming the lead to 9-4.
Raudes was tagged for five runs on five hits and three walks in just 3.1 innings, taking the loss. Martinez surrendered three runs on four hits and a walk in 3.2 frames, fanning three. Weems gave up a run on one hit and three walks while getting two outs, both via the strikeout. Matthew Gorst fired 1.1 innings of perfect relief for Salem.
The Sox will try to snap out of their skid Tuesday night, with right-handed hurler Jake Thompson answering the bell for Salem against P-Nats righty Joan Baez. First pitch from Haley Toyota Field is at 7:05 p.m., and the pregame show with Ben Gellman and Suzie Cool 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.