Salem Red Sox win in walkoff
After missing opportunities to take a lead in the eighth or to win it in the ninth, the Salem Red Sox finally found the one run they needed to prevail in the last of the 11th. Heiker Meneses’ one-out triple prefaced three consecutive two-out walks, with Sean Coyle drawing the game-winning free pass from Antonio Cruiz, bringing home Meneses and giving Salem a 6-5 victory over Wilmington in 11 innings on Saturday night.
It was Salem’s first walk-off win since August 27, 2011, which also featured Meneses scoring the winning run in the 11th against the Blue Rocks. Nearly a year ago, Shannon Wilkerson’s sacrifice fly finished the job, while Cruz issued the game-ending walk to Coyle to give the Sox their second straight win over the Rocks on Saturday evening at LewisGale Field.
Xander Bogaerts led the Red Sox offense that outhit the Blue Rocks 14-8. With two singles, two doubles, and two walks, Bogaerts reached base all six times he came to the plate, and is now hitting .647 (11-for-17) with six doubles in four games in August. Meneses added three hits, finishing a homer shy of the cycle, to pace the Sox.
The game may have ended earlier if not for a huge two-out error made by the Sox in the top of the eighth. With the score tied at four and Geulin Beltre at first, Murray Watts flew a sky-high pop-up to shallow left. Felix Sanchez settled underneath, but dropped it, and Beltre scurried around the bases to score all the way from first. The unearned run gave Wilmington a 5-4 lead, but the Sox would respond in the last of the eighth, with Bogaerts scoring on an RBI single from Shannon Wilkerson to even the score at five.
Salem missed numerous chances to win it in regulation, stranding two in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings. Wilmington’s Orlando Calixte led off the top of the tenth with a double against Michael Gleason, but the Red Sox reliever escaped unscathed. Gleason pitched magnificently, permitting just two hits over three and a third scoreless innings, earning his first win of the season.
Salem scored single runs in the second and third innings against Blue Rocks starter Jason Adam, and Matt Barnes cruised through the first three frames, retiring nine straight after the Angel Franco doubled to start the game. With two outs in the fourth, Calixte’s first double of the game drove in Lane Adams to bring the Blue Rocks within one. Down 2-1 in the fifth, the Rocks scored three more runs, all with two outs, to assume a 4-2 lead and chase Barnes from the game.
Barnes allowed four runs on four hits in four and two-thirds, striking out two, walking three, and remaining winless since June 14. The Red Sox bullpen permitted just one unearned run over six and third innings, with Andrew Jones tossing three and Gleason dealing three and a third.