SALEM, VA (Monday, April 9) - The Salem Red Sox used timely power hitting and lockdown relief to stymie the Wilmington Blue Rocks Monday, earning a 6-2 win over the visitors at Haley Toyota Field in Salem.
The Sox (4-1) fell behind in the early innings but relied on five shutout frames from their bullpen to stay in the game and let their potent bats put them in position for the win. The Blue Rocks (2-3) were hitless in 11 at bats with runners in scoring position and stranded thirteen base-runners in the game. Salem's bullpen has now given up just two runs (one earned) in 19.1 innings for a microscopic 0.47 ERA through the first five games of the season.
Wilmington got the scoring going in the top of the fourth against Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck (ND), who gave up a two-out single to Kort Peterson before Angelo Castellano smashed a fastball over the left-field wall for a two-run homer that put the Blue Rocks in front 2-0.
The Sox sliced into that lead in the bottom of the fourth against Wilmington starter Arnaldo Hernandez (ND), who gave up a leadoff single to Brett Netzer. Bobby Dalbec worked a walk, putting runners at first and second with no outs, and Ryan Scott rapped a single into right to plate Netzer and cut the lead down to 2-1.
Salem drew even in the bottom of the sixth inning against new reliever Jared Ruxer (BS, 1; L, 0-1). With one out and the bases empty, Dalbec scorched a fly to the deepest part of the yard for a solo homer. It was his second bomb of the year, and it tied the game at 2-2.
The Sox surged ahead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Trenton Kemp earned a leadoff walk from Ruxer, and zipped to third on a double by Jerry Downs. After a groundout by Tyler Hill failed to advance the runners, Santiago Espinal brought Kemp home on a sacrifice fly to center. That chased Ruxer from the game, but new reliever Nolan Becker surrendered a double to Netzer that sent Downs in to make it a 4-2 lead for the Sox.
Salem extended their lead in the bottom of the eighth. Becker got a double play for the first two outs of the frame, but third baseman Emmanuel Rivera booted a grounder from Kyri Washington, extending the inning. Kemp took advantage, blasting a two-run shot to dead center to run the advantage to 6-2. Wilmington got two aboard in the ninth, but couldn't convert, and Salem earned the win.
Houck took a no-decision, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks in four innings while fanning four. Hunter Smith (W, 1-0) allowed two walks and a hit in three frames but nothing else, whiffing two and getting the win. Joan Martinez (S, 1) worked around two hits and three walks in his two innings of action, recording one strikeout and notching the save.
The Sox will look to make it three straight wins Tuesday night, with 18-year-old righty Bryan Mata getting the ball for Salem against Blue Rocks southpaw Cristian Castillo. 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 MiLB.tv and the Red Sox radio network.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.