Power surge lands Potomac a 10-3 win

Saturday night, the Potomac Nationals (12-9) took full advantage of a shaky start from LHP Matt Kent (L, 1-2) and a pair of errors by the Salem Red Sox (13-9) in route to a 10-3 win. Potomac tallied two doubles, three triples, and two home runs in the victory, while RHP Wirkin Estevez (W, 1-1) recorded his second quality start of the season.

p-natsA back and forth game for the first four innings saw Salem score each half frame after the P-Nats tallied a run. Potomac got on the board first with a sacrifice fly from RF Rhett Wiseman in the second inning, but the Red Sox responded with a pair of runs in the home half of the frame. Salem got a single from each of the first three hitters that came to the plate in the inning, as an RBI base hit from C Austin Rei tied the game, and a wild pitch by Estevez put the Red Sox on top 2-1.

After each pitcher worked a scoreless third frame, each allowed a run in the fourth inning. Potomac took advantage of a two-out walk, as Wiseman came through once again with an RBI double, which made it 2-2. Once again, Salem answered immediately, as 3B Jose Sermo put the Red Sox back in the lead with his first home run of the season. Sermo’s solo blast made it 3-2 Salem, but it was the final time that the Red Sox scored.

The P-Nats rattled off the final eight runs of the game, with three runs in the fifth inning, one run in the sixth, three runs in the eighth, and a final run in the ninth.

Salem gave away the lead in the top of the fifth inning, as CF Dale Carey led off the frame with his first home run of the season. After LF Jack Sundberg extended his hit streak to eight games with a single, 2B Bryan Mejia put Potomac ahead with an RBI double. Two batters later, 3B Kelvin Gutierrez made it 5-3 with an RBI triple, one of three triples on the night for Potomac. Kent departed after five innings. The lefty allowed five runs on seven hits in his second consecutive loss.

Estevez worked in and out of trouble throughout his six innings of work, as the righty allowed three runs on eight hits. Only one of Salem’s hits went for extra bases, and Estevez induced a season high three double plays in the start.

Out of the Salem bullpen, LHP Bobby Poyner gave up a solo home run to SS David Masters, but retired the other six men that he faced over the sixth and seventh innings. RHP Mitchel Osnowitz had the misfortune of two errors behind him, as Potomac put the game away with three runs in the eighth inning. Gushue reached on a fielding error by 1B Josh Ockimey, while DH Edwin Lora walked and Wiseman singled. With the bases loaded, Masters grounded out to Sermo, but the third baseman’s throw pulled Salem catcher Austin Rei off of the plate. The third baseman was charged with a throwing error. Carey then brought home a run with a groundout, while Mejia had an RBI single, as the P-Nats led 9-3 after 7.5 innings. In the ninth, Gutierrez led off with a triple and scored on an RBI single by Gushue one batter alter.

Out of the Potomac bullpen, RHP Gilberto Mendez (SV, 1) faced just two more than the minimum over three-shutout innings. The righty retired nine of the final 10 men that he faced. All nine starters for Potomac reached base at least once, while eight of the nine tallied at least one hit. Five different P-Nats recorded two hits in the win.

With a chance for a series win and first place in the Northern Division, the P-Nats will turn to LHP Matthew Crownover (3-0, 0.68) on Sunday afternoon. Crownover tossed five-shutout innings in his only start of the year, a victory as part of a doubleheader against the Down East Wood Ducks on 4/18. For the Red Sox, LHP Daniel McGrath (0-2, 6.50) will aim to bounce back from consecutive starts in which he has allowed at least four earned runs and not made it beyond four innings. First pitch of the rubber match is set for 1:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 5:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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