SALEM, VA (Monday, May 7) - The Salem Red Sox got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday night but couldn't convert, dropping a 6-4 decision to the Winston-Salem Dash at Haley Toyota Field.
Salem (17-14) continued to struggle with runners in scoring position, collecting just one hit in six such opportunities. The Dash (18-13) took the lead in the second and never trailed, holding the Red Sox to only four hits through the first eight innings. Kyri Washington saw his career-best hitting streak end at 10 games, as he was 0-4 in the ballgame.
The Dash got the scoring going in the top of the second against Sox starter Tanner Houck (L, 1-4). Leadoff man Micker Adolfo lofted a fly to right that looked like an easy out, but the Red Sox outfielders simply didn't make a play on it, and Adolfo reached third on a fluke triple. Houck walked Gavin Sheets to put runners at the corners before recovering to strike out Alex Call and Yeyson Yrizarri. The righty got to an 0-2 count on Nate Nolan before Nolan belted a fastball over the wall in center for a three-run homer to give the Dash a 3-0 advantage.
Winston-Salem added another in the top of the third. With one out, Houck fanned Mitch Roman on a wild pitch that allowed Roman to reach base before stealing second. Blake Rutherford grounded out to first, letting Roman make it to third, and Houck surrendered an RBI single through the right side to Micker Adolfo to run the lead to 4-0.
Salem nudged their way closer in the bottom of the fifth against Dash starting pitcher Luis Martinez (W, 2-1). With Chris Madera aboard and one out, Santiago Espinal hit a swinging bunt up the third base line. Martinez slipped and fell trying to field the ball, and threw the ball wildly into right field. Madera raced home, and Espinal wound up at third with a single and error on the play. Martinez then uncorked a wild pitch that let Espinal scoot home to cut the lead to 4-2.
The Dash earned a run back in the top of the sixth, as Call rapped a leadoff double to left off Houck before the righty got Yrizarri to pop out for the first out. Hunter Smith entered from the pen and got Nolan to fly out to left, but Ti'Quan Forbes singled to right, scoring Call and making it a 5-2 ballgame.
Salem answered immediately in the bottom of the inning against new reliever Danny Dopico. Jerry Downs unloaded on a fastball and sent it screaming over the wall in right field for a solo homer, his third of the year. The dinger cut the Dash's lead to 5-3. However, Yrizarri singled with one out in the eighth, and Forbes banged a double off the wall in center to plate him and extend the lead back to 6-3.
The Sox made the Dash sweat in the bottom of the ninth inning. New reliever Drew Hasler (S, 1) retired Ryan Scott and Madera on ground-outs to start the inning, but Espinal sliced a double to right before Brett Netzer dropped an RBI single into center. Roldani Baldwin reached on an infield single to put the tying run aboard, but Downs flew out to left, ending the game.
Houck notched a career-best nine whiffs in a career-long 5.1 innings; he surrendered five runs on five hits and two walks, and threw two wild pitches. Smith gave up a run on three hits and a walk in 2.2 frames, fanning three. Matthew Gorst gave up two hits but nothing else in a scoreless inning of relief, striking out one.
The Sox will try to get back on the winning track Tuesday night, with righty Roniel Raudes starting for Salem against Dash righty Jimmy Lambert. 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 broadcast network.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.