Salem tops Pelicans, 3-1
Manny Rivera delivered Salem’s first quality start of the season, and three sacrifice flies produced all the offense the Red Sox needed in Sunday afternoon’s 3-1 triumph over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at LewisGale Field.
Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in a pair and key doubles from Michael Almanzar and Felix Sanchez—the eight and nine hitters, respectively—helped the Sox muster enough scoring to support Rivera and reliever Marco Duarte, who dealt three scoreless out of the pen to earn the save and preserve the win.
Five days after lasting just two-thirds of an inning in his 2012 debut, Rivera faced just two more than the minimum over his first five innings. He allowed baserunners in each of the first two frames, but induced double play grounders both times to escape unscathed. All five hits he allowed over six innings were singles, with the only run coming in the top of the sixth on a grounder to short that Xander Bogaerts bobbled and picked up an error on. He became the first Sox starter of 2012 to pitch into the sixth, completing the sixth inning for just the second time in the Carolina League.
Salem broke a scoreless draw in the bottom of the second against Myrtle Beach starter Kyle Hendricks. Following back-to-back singles from Drew Hedman and Bogaerts, Shannon Wilkerson bunted them to second and third and Adalberto Ibarra lifted a sac fly to right-center to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.
The Pelicans used three singles and two Salem fielding errors to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning, but the deadlocked score was short lived. Sanchez led off the home half of the frame with a double down the right field line, his first extra base hit of the season. With Bradley batting, Sanchez stole third and then scored on a sac fly to center, giving the Sox a 2-1 edge. Two innings later, Almanzar led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and came across on Bradley’s second sac fly of the afternoon, putting the Sox up 3-1.
Duarte followed Rivera and was just as dominant, permitting just two baserunners in his three scoreless innings, retiring the final seven men he faced to end the game. Duarte struck out three, including Brett Nicholas to finish the contest, and picked up his first Carolina League save.
The only multi-hit performance in the game came from Myrtle Beach’s Teodoro Martinez, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Hedman reached base twice for Salem with a hit and a walk, while Bradley increased his team-leading RBI total to seven. Interestingly, Salem had connected on just one sacrifice fly in its first eight games before Sunday afternoon, when the Sox recorded three.
Winners of back-to-back games for the first time this season, the Salem Sox will strive to make it three straight on Monday evening when they begin a home series with the Lynchburg Hillcats. The 460 rivalry renews itself at 7:05 with Keith Couch starting for Salem opposite Lynchburg’s Cody Martin.