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Kinston sets Salem down again

Making his first career start as a pro, Indians lefthander J.D. Reichenbach dealt five and two-thirds hitless innings, setting the tone for Kinston’s 5-2 victory over Salem on Tuesday night at Grainger Stadium.

The K-Tribe took a no-hitter into the seventh before Shannon Wilkerson reached safely on an infield single against Jose Flores to help Salem avoid ignominious history. David Mailman singled twice in the final three innings, but the Red Sox mustered just three hits and fell for the 29th time in the last 38 games.

Kinston scored five runs via three big extra-base hits against Salem Chris Hernandez, who finished strong but got tagged with the loss that dropped his record to 5-4. In the first inning, Adam Abraham belted a two-run bomb to right-field to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. The homer came immediately after Salem was unable to complete a routine 4-6-3 double-play, getting just one of the two outs that enabled Kinston to prolong the frame and capitalize on the miscue.

Hernandez set down 11 of 12 after the Abraham homer, but his stretch of dominance ended in the fifth when Doug Pickens belted a solo home run to center, boosting Kinston’s lead to 3-zip. The Indians added two more with two outs in the frame when Anthony Gallas hammered a two-run double down the left-field line, bringing home Tyler Holt and Casey Frawley, who had both drawn two-out walks.

After Gallas’ double, Hernandez and Mitch Herold teamed up to retire the final 10 Indians that batted in the ballgame. Unfortunately, the Sox offense was stymied by Reichenbach and a trio of Tribe relievers. Salem broke up the no-no and scored a pair in the top of the seventh, with Josue Peley (sac fly) and Zach Gentile (RBI ground-out) driving in runs after Wilkerson and Mailman reached with singles.

The Red Sox had baserunners in three of the first four innings, but Salem bounced into three inning-ending double plays that erased all three runners. Mailman finished 2-4, Wilkerson went 1-2 with two walks, and the rest of the Salem lineup went 0-22 in the ballgame.

Reichenbach picked up his first Carolina League victory, needing only 50 pitches over five and two-thirds innings. After Flores allowed a pair in the seventh, Rob Bryson tossed a scoreless eighth and Preston Guilmet slammed the door to earn his 15th save.

The Sox and Indians will duel in the series finale on Wednesday at 6:30, with Drake Britton squaring off against Marty Popham to wrap up the four-game, three-day series.