Salem nips P-Nats, 6-5
The Salem Red Sox rallied from two separate one-run deficits against top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito and squeaked out a 6-5 decision over the Potomac Nationals on Sunday afternoon at LewisGale Field.
The Sox got the bats going in the last of the second inning. Trailing 1-0, Wendell Rijo reached first by beating out a swinging bunt single down the third base line. With a hit-and-run on, Jake Romanski smacked a grounder through the hole at second base and Rijo took third. Khayyan Norfork was casual with the baseball after receiving the relay and Rijo took off from third and scored in front of the throw for the Sox first run.
Jordan Betts followed up by driving in Romanski with an RBI single. With two outs, Manuel Margot tripled to right-center and knocked in Betts. Norfork sailed the relay throw past third base and out of play, allowing Margot to score and giving the Red Sox a 4-1 lead.
Potomac began to inch their way back with two runs in the third inning. With runners on first and third, Narciso Mesa hit a deep fly to center that allowed Estarlin Martinez to tag and score from third. With two outs in the inning, John Wooten crushed a double and drove Christopher Bostick home. Wooten’s second RBI double of the game cut the Salem lead to 4-3.
The Nationals took the lead back in the fourth, beginning with a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases. Martinez grounded out to second but drove in Norfork to tie the game. Bostick followed up with an RBI single and Potomac vaulted ahead with a 5-4 lead.
Salem did not fade away after that, instead bouncing back to tie the game in the fifth. Sam Travis smoked a two-out single to right field and Mario Martinez crushed a double over Mesa’s head in center to drive in Travis and tie the game at five.
The Sox took the lead for good in the sixth. With two outs and runners on second and third, Margot poked a grounder up the middle. Romanski scored from third as Norfork fielded the ball and threw to third. Betts had overrun the base at third and was tagged out to end the inning, but the run scored to give Salem a 6-5 lead.
Denny Bautista (2-0) earned the win, going six innings while allowing five runs on nine hits. Giolito (1-4) struck out eight over six innings, but gave up six runs, five earned, on 11 hits to take the loss. Taylor Grover tossed three scoreless innings out of the pen, allowing just one walk, to earn his first save of the year.
The Sox pounded out 12 hits in the victory with five players recording multi-hit games. Romanski led the charge with a 3-for-4 outing, scoring twice. Margot, Travis, Rijo and Betts all added a pair of hits and scored a run. Margot drove in a pair while Betts tallied his 11th RBI of the year.
Salem now hits the road for a pair of games in Lynchburg against the Hillcats starting Monday at 6:30 p.m. Ty Buttrey (4-0, 2.40) gets the ball for the Sox on Monday against the Hillcats’ Luis Lugo (3-3, 4.58). Fans can listen to the game on 1240 AM ESPN Roanoke, online atsalemsox.com or via the TuneIn Radio app.