Devers homers twice in 3-2 Salem Red Sox defeat
The Salem Red Sox fell in the rubber game of their three-game series with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 3-2 Thursday night at TicketReturn.com Field. With the loss, the Pelicans hold a 3.5-game lead on the Red Sox for first place in the Southern Division second half standings.
The Pelicans (65-52, 29-18) loaded the bases in the first inning with no outs against Red Sox starter Anyelo Leclerc, who was able to escape the jam. In the bottom of the second, the righty stranded two more runners on base, but not before allowing the game’s first tally on an Erick Castillo fielder’s choice to hand Myrtle Beach a 1-0 lead.
Myrtle Beach scored twice in the bottom of the third on a Yasiel Balaguert home run and an Andrew Ely RBI single to take a 3-0 advantage. Leclerc (2-2) settled down after the Ely single, retiring the final seven batters he faced. He tossed 5.0 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, striking out three and walking one. It was just the second time in five starts that Leclerc finished five innings.
In the top of the fourth, the Red Sox (68-47, 25-21) got on the scoreboard against Preston Morrison (2-0), compliments of a Rafael Devers solo home run to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Jake Cosart relieved Leclerc and was brilliant in his two hitless frames, striking out four Pelicans in the process. The unorthodox righty has begun his Salem career with 5.2 scoreless innings, striking out 10 and allowing just one hit.
Bobby Poyner retired the Pelicans in order on just five pitches in the bottom of the eighth, as the Red Sox pitchers combined to retire 16 of the final 17 Pelicans batters of the game. The only hitter to reach base –Donnie Dewees – reached on a dropped third strike from Cosart.
In the top of the ninth, Devers clobbered his second home run of the game off Pelicans closer Ryan McNeil to close the gap to 3-2. McNeil was able to close out the inning without further incident to register his league-leading 19th save of the season.
The blasts marked Devers’ 10th and 11th homers of the year and his first multi-homer game of the season. It’s the third time in his career that the third baseman has hit multiple dingers in the same game.
Salem had several opportunities go to waste in the game, as they had six baserunners thrown out by Myrtle Beach. Three runners were caught stealing, two were picked off, and a third was thrown out at home trying to score to end the top of the eighth.
The Red Sox head home to start a three-game series with the Wilmington Blue Rocks Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for7:05 pm. Salem sends southpaw Daniel McGrath (5-5, 4.70) to the mound, while Wilmington rolls with righty Zach Lovvorn (2-13, 3.58). For tickets and more information, call (540) 389-3333 or slide to www.salemsox.com/tickets.