Sox Drop Dash 5-1 Behind Gonzalez's Gem

Venezuelan Righty Runs Shutout Streak to 20.2 Innings

Daniel Gonzalez fired a career-long 7.1 shutout innings in Salem's win Saturday night. (John Wacher)

By Ben Gellman / Salem Red Sox | September 2, 2017 10:00 PM

SALEM, VA (Saturday, September 2, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox got another starring performance out of starting pitcher Daniel Gonzalez on Saturday, as the righty pitched brilliantly to lead the home team to a 5-1 defeat of the Winston-Salem Dash at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark.

The Sox (33-34, 72-63) snapped out of a four-game skid and kept their hopes for the Mills Cup playoffs mathematically alive with the win; Salem would need to sweep the Dash and have the Frederick Keys lose all three of their remaining games for the Sox to make the playoffs. Winston-Salem (29-38, 53-84) lost their fifth straight game, and didn't manage to score until they were already trailing by five. Gonzalez (W, 5-0) ran his shutout streak with Salem to 20.2 innings dating back to June 2, a season-best for any Sox pitcher.

After stranding two runners in the first and three more in the second, Salem got the scoring going in the bottom of the third against Dash starting pitcher Yosmer Solorzano (L, 0-1). Jordan Betts cracked a one-out double to right, and Tate Matheny drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Tyler Spoon hit a sharp grounder to the left side that took a bad hop on shortstop Ti'Quan Forbes and skipped into left field; Betts scored, and Matheny was tagged out as Spoon reached second on the throw. The run put Salem ahead 1-0.

The Sox extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Conrad Gregor worked the count to 3-2 against Solorzano before hooking a fly ball just inside the right field foul pole for a solo homer, running the lead to 2-0.

Salem broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh against Dash reliever Mike Morrison. Gregor led off with a single, and moved up to third on a one-out single by Betts. Matheny fanned, but Spoon singled to left, scoring Matheny, and Betts raced home when Jameson Fisher booted the ball for an error, with Spoon reaching second on the miscue. Austin Rei then doubled home Spoon, making hot a 5-0 game.

Winston-Salem got on the board in the top of the eighth against Sox reliever Daniel McGrath. With two outs and Ti'Quan Forbes at second base, Dash catcher Daniel Gonzalez singled to score Forbes and cut the lead to 5-1. However, McGrath didn't allow anyone else to come around, and the Sox took home the win.

Gonzalez stayed undefeated with his gem, fanning nine batters and allowing only three hits in his seven shutout innings. McGrath surrendered a run on two hits and a walk in two innings, striking out three.

The Sox and Dash will tangle in a doubleheader on Sunday. Righty Mike Shawaryn will get the ball for Salem against Winston-Salem righty Dane Dunning in the first game, while lefty Logan Boyd will start for the Sox in the nightcap against Dash lefty Ian Clarkin. First pitch from Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark is at 1:05 p.m., and Ben Gellman's pregame show starts at 12:45 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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