Salem routs Blue Rocks, 8-0
Miguel Celestino tossed seven dominant innings as the Salem Sox breezed over the Blue Rocks 8-0 on Monday night at Frawley Stadium. The Sox mustered just five hits and only one for extra bases, but Wilmington’s trio of hurlers combined to issue a dozen free passes, the most that Salem has received in a game all season.
Shannon Wilkerson stole two bases, scored twice, and drove in three runs in his return to the Salem lineup, helping the Sox keep pace with the first-place Dash, who also won on Monday night over Potomac.
Celestino permitted just three singles and two walks in his dynamite performance, his second straight start in which he did not allow a single earned run. The Blue Rocks put runners at second and third in the first inning, but Celestino wiggled out of trouble and never again threw a pitch with multiple runners on base. He struck out just two in his first five innings before punching out three in the final two frames for a five-strikeout evening. Celestino improved to 5-2 and shrunk his ERA to 2.53, third best in the Carolina League. Ruben Flores dealt two hitless innings to seal the deal, his fourth straight outing in which he has not allowed a hit out of the Sox pen.
Salem’s offense struck early against Wilmington’s Tyler Sample, with Jackie Bradley, Jr. leading off the first with a single. On an errant pickoff throw, Bradley moved to third. Shortly thereafter, Wilkerson’s sacrifice fly drove Bradley home and gave the Sox a 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, Heiker Meneses led off with a double and he scored three batters later when Wilkerson’s two-out single made it 2-0. Wilkerson proceeded to steal second and third, scoring on catcher Kevin David’s errant toss down the left field line to put the Sox up by three.
In the fifth, the Red Sox took advantage of more wildness from Wilmington’s pitchers, scoring three runs on one hit, three walks, and one hit-batter. Travis Shaw, Brandon Jacobs, and Xander Bogaerts all picked up RBI without putting the ball in play.
With one more hit, two more walks, and Wilkerson’s second sac fly in the sixth, the Sox led 8-0 through six innings.
The Red Sox remain three back of first-place Winston-Salem with six games remaining in the half. The Dash’s magic number sits at four.