Sox rout Dash, complete three-game sweep
Every member of the Red Sox lineup connected for at least one hit as Salem continued its second-half resurgence, demolishing Winston-Salem 9-4 on Monday night to finish off the sweep of the Dash. Mark Wagner, in his second game since returning off the disabled list with a shoulder injury, went 3-3 with three RBI, falling just a triple shy of the cycle to lead the robust Red Sox offense. Jorge Padron also pounded three hits on a 15-hit evening for Salem.
The loud bats were complemented by another superb performance by a Salem starter, as Ryan Pressly dealt his fourth straight quality start since the All-Star Break. Pressly picked up the victory, improving to 5-8 with six and a third innings of three-hit ball, allowing three runs (two earned). For the first time all season, Pressly did not strike out anybody, but nine ground-outs and seven fly-outs combined to quell the Winston whackers. In relief, Jeremiah Bayer tossed one and two-thirds innings, allowing one run, and Will Latimer authored a 1-2-3 ninth to close the door.
Salem scored first for the third straight game, plating a pair in the second inning off Winston starter Joe Serafin. Bryce Brentz doubled to open the frame, moved to third on Dan Butler’s ground out, and came across on Miles Head’s sac fly. The Sox doubled their lead with Wagner launching a solo jack off Serafin, his third Carolina League homer of the season, to make it 2-0.
Winston scored an unearned run in the top of the fourth to slim the deficit to one, but the Sox erupted for three more in the last of the fourth. Salem loaded the bases with nobody out, then used a Wagner sac fly, an Alex Valdez RBI single, and a Winston-Salem fielding error to take a 5-1 lead.
Wagner picked up his third RBI in his third at-bat, doubling to drive home Butler with nobody out in the sixth inning. Two outs later, Shannon Wilkerson extended his hitting streak to seven games with a two-run single off reliever J.R. Ballinger, surging Salem to an 8-1 advantage. Although Serafin departed before the Wilkerson knock, the runners were his responsibility, and the Dash lefthander was charged with eight runs, seven earned, on ten hits over five and two-thirds innings.
Ian Gac crushed his league-leading 21st homer to start the seventh inning, but the meager Winston rally fell short over the final few innings. Gac momentarily gained a lead on the Carolina League RBI leaderboard, but Butler drove in Salem’s ninth run of the night in the bottom of the seventh, equaling Gac’s RBI total for the night and the season. Both sluggers have driven in 58 in 2011, tied for tops in the circuit.
Incredibly, Salem pitchers did not strike out a single batter until Latimer whiffed Luis Sierra for the 27th and final out of the ballgame. It was the first time all season that the Red Sox hurlers failed to K at least three opposing batters. Nevertheless, the Sox still won comfortably, the 10th victory in the last 13 games to inch within two games of the first-place K-Tribe.
Following a Tuesday break, the Sox return to action in Myrtle Beach on Wednesday, kicking off a four-gamer against the Pelicans. Salem is scheduled to send Stolmy Pimentel to the mound to start the opener, while the Pelicans probable is Miguel De Los Santos. All four games of the Myrtle Beach series, Wednesday through Saturday, will commence at 7:05.