Potomac Nationals top Salem Red Sox, 5-1

potomac nationalsAn over-capacity crowd of 6,548 fans came out as part of Military Appreciation night on Saturday at LewisGale Field and witnessed a great pitching performance from the Potomac Nationals, who knocked off the Salem Red Sox 5-1.

The 6,548 fans marked the sixth sellout of the season, the most since the Red Sox affiliation began in Salem in 2009. It was also the second largest crowd of the Red Sox era, trailing only a crowd of 7,059 from July 17 this year.

On the field, the Nationals got off to a quick start by plating a pair in the top of the first inning on a two-out single from Drew Ward. Salem put two runners on in the last of the first against knuckleballer Jeff Howell, but was robbed of a run when Estarlin Martinez made a running grab on a line drive from Kevin Heller.

The theme continued through Howell’s start as the Red Sox worked six walks against the righthander, but were only able to cash in on one when Zach Kapstein doubled home Heller with one out in the fourth to cut the Potomac advantage to 2-1.

The Nationals extended their lead on an RBI single from Estarlin Martinez in the last of the seventh against Ty Buttrey, who tied a career-high with seven innings pitched. Ward doubled Potomac’s advantage in the eighth with a two-run homer to give the Nationals a 5-1 lead.

Buttrey (8-9) authored his 10th quality start of the year, but took the loss. In his seven innings, he allowed three runs on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Howell (1-1) earned the victory by tossing five innings, giving up a run on three hits and six walks.

With the victory, Potomac improved to 61-70 on the season, 28-33 in the half, but was eliminated from playoff contention thanks to Lynchburg’s win at Carolina. Salem fell to 60-71, 22-39 in the half.

The Red Sox now finish out the home portion of the schedule on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. with Fan Appreciation Day. The team will be signing autographs on the concourse from 2:45 – 3:15 and kids will be able to run the bases after the game. Trey Ball (8-13, 4.85) will toe the rubber for Salem against Potomac’s Tyler Mapes (4-3, 2.70). Fans unable to attend can listen to the game on 1240 AM ESPN Roanoke, online at salemsox.com or via the TuneIn Radio app.


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