Red Sox earn 7-6 walk-off victory over Pelicans
Mired in a miserable slump for the better part of four games, the Salem Red Sox offense came alive for four runs in the bottom of the ninth against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, and walked off in the tenth with a 7-6 win.
In the tenth, Red Sox third baseman Stefan Welch drilled a line drive that dropped underneath the glove of Pelicans center fielder Jake Skole, Henry Ramos scored, and the LewisGale Field crowd went home happy.
Ramos began the tenth inning with a one-out single. He was advanced to third with a wild pitch and a Keury De La Cruz single, before becoming the winning run.
The Sox entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 6-2, having plated seven runs in their previous 41 innings at bat. With some help from wild Myrtle Beach relievers, Salem finally came to life. Singles from Matt Gedman, Nick Natoli, and Ramos began the frame, with Ramos driving in Gedman. Deven Marrero reached on an error to load the bases. At that point, pressure evidently began to affect Pelicans hurlers. Jon Edwards walked De La Cruz, who received credit for an RBI as Natoli scored. Edwards was replaced by Josh McElwee, who promptly dished out a wild pitch that scored Ramos and brought Salem within one run. With runners on second and third and the infield in, Welch grounded out. With Brandon Jacobs at the plate, McElwee dispensed another wild pitch. Marrero scored and Salem tied it up 6-6. After intentional walks to Jacobs and Blake Swihart to load the bases, Cody Koback and Gedman (up for the second time in the inning) were retired to send the game to extras.
The game had the pretense of a pitchers duel during its initial innings. Salem struck first in the fourth on a powerful opposite-field double by Jacobs that brought Welch home.
Salem starter William Cuevas was headed for another solid outing before a sudden collapse in the fifth. With two outs and no runners aboard, Luis Sardinas dribbled a grounder toward Marrero. The shortstop charged the ball hard and threw on the run to make the play close, but the speedy Sardinas was ruled safe on a 50-50 call by umpire Jimmie Hollingsworth. Later in the inning, with runners on first and second, Cuevas had two strikes on Rougned Odor. He whistled in a fastball that was apparently just below the knees, but could have been called strike three by home plate ump J.J. January. Odor cleaned out the next pitch to left center for a double that instantly gave Myrtle Beach the lead 2-1. Two more RBI doubles would follow, and Cuevas shockingly left unable to get through the fifth. He entered the inning in a groove, and could have made it out alive if one of two close calls had gone his way.
The Pelicans added to their 4-1 lead in the sixth, getting two runs off Manny Rivera. The Red Sox reliever allowed two runs in three and one third innings of work. Cuevas gave up four runs on eight hits in four and two thirds, striking out three and walking two. Matt Price pitched two scoreless, hitless innings to grab the win for the Sox.
Pelicans starter Jared Eickhoff pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits. McElwee took the loss and logged a blown save, permitting one run on three hits in one and two thirds. Edwards failed to record an out, allowing three hits, one walk, and four runs (three earned).
Salem scored in the sixth when a Swihart single drove in Marrero.
On Tuesday, the Red Sox play game two of a four-game set against the Pelicans. Mike Augliera will take the hill for Salem against Victor Payano. First pitch is set for 7:05 pm.