Red Sox hold on for one-run win after five-run first

salem red soxThe Salem Red Sox sprinted out to an early lead with five runs in the first inning and held on for a 6-5 win over the Winston-Salem Dash on Sunday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark.

Winston-Salem was forced to use a combination of four pitchers thanks to an injury to starter Jace Fry in the first. Fry gave up back-to-back singles and a run before retiring Sam Travis on a groundout. In the fourth at-bat, Fry called for the trainer after the second pitch and exited with an apparent left arm injury.

Euclides Layer entered and could not limit the damage. Aided by three walks, a hit-by-pitch, two wild pitches and an error, Salem scored five runs on three hits in the inning. Cole Sturgeon had an RBI single and Mario Martinez drove in a run with a bases loaded walk. Sturgeon later scored on a wild pitch and Franklin Guzman contributed a RBI groundout to grow the lead to 5-0.

The Dash struck back for two in the home half of the first. With one out and a runner on first, Trey Michalczewski tripled, scoring Jake Peter. One batter later, Jeremy Dowdy slapped a single, knocking in Michalczewski and cutting the lead to 5-2 Salem.

The Sox added to their lead in the fourth when Franklin Guzman shot a double to left and later scored on a two-out single by Tzu-Wei Lin, extending the lead to 6-2.

Winston-Salem continued to crawl back in the fifth inning beginning with Adam Engel reaching on an error. Jake Peter walked behind him and then Michalczewski bounced a grounder to Kevin McAvoy on the pitcher’s mound. McAvoy tossed to Lin covering second but the relay throw to first sailed over the head of Travis and out of play, allowing Engel to score.

Trailing 6-3 in the sixth, the Dash scored twice and knocked McAvoy out of the game. With runners on first and third, Toby Thomas spanked a ball down the left field line for a two-run double, cutting the lead down to 6-5.

McAvoy (4-3) tossed 5.1 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits. He struck out two before being replaced by Taylor Grover, who promptly got two groundouts to end the sixth inning. Grover retired the first five he faced before surrendering a single, ending a streak of 20 straight batters retired across three outings. He tossed 2.2 shutout innings with only two hits against while bridging the gap to Austin Maddox.

Maddox allowed a leadoff single in the ninth to Engel, who advanced all the way to third, but was stranded there. Maddox struck out one in the inning while recording his league-leading eight save.

Sturgeon extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4 effort, scoring a run and knocking one in. Vinicio was also 2-for-4 with a run scored, pushing his hitting streak to seven.

The Red Sox improved to a league-best 8-3 in one-run games, improving their overall record to 26-24. Winston-Salem snapped a three-game winning streak and dropped to 21-29.

Game three of the four-game series is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. on Monday. Denny Bautista (1-0, 3.38) will start for the second time for the Red Sox opposed by Winston-Salem’s Robinson Leyer (1-5, 4.14). Fans can listen to the game on 1240 AM ESPN Roanoke, online at salemsox.com or via the TuneIn Radio app.

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