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P-Nats shut out Sox

Trevor Holder shut out the Salem Sox over seven superb innings, leading the Potomac Nationals to a 2-0 win over Salem on Saturday night at Pfitzner Stadium. The Sox mustered six hits, but Potomac pitchers faced just two over the minimum in the game.

Potomac turned two double plays and recorded another unique twin killer on Peter Hissey’s infield single. With Wilfred Pichardo at first and nobody out, Hissey laid a bunt down the third base line that he beat out for a single. First baseman Justin Bloxom dropped the ball, and Wilfred Pichardo attempted to advance to third. But Bloxom fired across the diamond to nab Pichardo for the first out. Meanwhile, Hissey started towards second, but reversed back, only to be thrown out by the third baseman Jose Lozada. The unconventional 3-5-3 double play after the base hit negated back-to-back singles to start the frame.

Only run Red Sox baserunner reached third for the entire game, and Holder struck out Hissey, stranding the potential go-ahead run in the top of the sixth. Holder was phenomenal for Potomac, recording his first scoreless start of the season, striking out four in the process. He entered the day with a 7.05 ERA, but lowered it to 6.31 in his best performance of the year.

Junichi Tazawa was just as good for the Sox in his fifth rehab start. The Japanese righthander yielded just two base hits and struck out three, as he extended his scoreless streak to nine consecutive innings over his last three starts. Tazawa went four innings and threw 35 of his 56 pitches for strikes.

Pete Ruiz relieved Tazawa and retired the first five he faced before allowing a bloop single to Destin Hood with two outs in the sixth. On a 3-2 pitch with the runner going, Bloxom’s one-hopper at Zach Gentile went right underneath his glove. Hood hustled around the bases and scored all the way from first, capitalizing on Gentile’s error to take a 1-0 lead.

An inning later, Justino Cuevas drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to double Potomac’s advantage. Ruiz was the hard-luck loser for Salem, as he gave up two runs (one earned) in three innings while striking out three.

After Joe Testa issued a one-out walk in the eighth, Hector Nelo entered and retired the final four batters of the game to preserve the second consecutive victory for the P-Nats over the Sox.

Salem slapped six singles in the contest, but none in the final three innings. David Mailman extended his hitting streak to seven games with a leadoff single in the third, but his presence on the bases was erased on a double play, one of the three on the night.

The Sox will try to salvage the finale of the three-game set on Sunday at 1:05 PM. Ryan Pressly will take the ball for Salem against Potomac’s Paul Demny.

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