Sox steamroll Pelicans
For the second straight Friday night, the Red Sox overcame an early deficit and scored a plethora of runs to overwhelm their foe. After delivering 13 unanswered last Friday in Frederick, Salem authored nine in a row on the first night in June to steamroll Myrtle Beach 12-4 at LewisGale Field. Seven different Red Sox recorded multi-hit performances, while eight of the nine Sox drove in at least one run in a true team effort.
Bizarrely, both teams played without their managers after the top of the third inning. Within about ten minutes of one another, both Salem skipper Billy McMillon and Myrtle Beach skippper Jason Wood were ejected by the same umpire, Aaron Larsen, for arguing a caught stealing call at second base. McMillon’s second ejection of the season came after Matty Johnson was thrown out at second to end the second inning, while Wood got tossed when Jared Hoying was caught trying to steal second for the first out in the third.
The Pelicans grasped an early 1-0 lead on the back of two infield singles and some crafty baserunning in the top of the first, but the Sox responded with a three-run rally in the last of the second, with all the runs scoring with two outs. Michael Almanzar and Christian Vazquez had walked to begin the inning, and the Sox avoided a squander when Jackie Bradley, Jr. laced a two-out, two-run double to put the Sox up 2-1. Johnson followed with an RBI single to make it 3-1 before he was caught stealing, a situation that sparked the initial ejection.
Myrtle Beach rallied for three of their own in the top of the third to reassume the advantage, taking advantage of Miguel Celestino’s throwing error in the inning. Jared Hoying and Brett Nicholas drove in runs for Myrtle, with the latter slapping an RBI double to put the Birds back in front 4-3. The lead was short lived, however, as Salem left fielder Brandon Jacobs crushed his second homer of the year in the last of the third, a solo shot that evened the score at four.
Celestino settled down after three bumpy innings and allowed just one hit over his final three frames, completing six innings with just two earned runs allowed on seven hits for his fourth quality start of the year. Salem’s five-run explosion in the last of the fourth put him in position for the win.
Vazquez led off with the second of his three walks, and Sean Coyle doubled him home to put the Red Sox on top 5-4. Advancing to third on the throw to the plate, Coyle touched home to make it 6-4 on Drew Hedman’s ground-out to first. Bradley belted his second double, moved to third on Johnson’s second single, and scored on Travis Shaw’s second single of the night that moved Johnson to third. Jacobs drove in another run with a 5-4 fielder’s choice, giving the Sox an 8-4 lead, and Jacobs crossed on Xander Bogaerts’ RBI double to cap the five-run rally and send Salem to a 9-4 advantage.
With two outs in the last of the eighth, Salem added three more, with Bogaerts driving in his second run of the night prior to Vazquez picking up a pair of RBI with a double to the gap in left-center. Overall, the Red Sox mustered 15 hits, seven for extra-bases, and drew seven walks.
Celestino improved to 3-2, while Pelicans reliever Francisco Mendoza, who was hammered for five runs in the fourth, suffered the setback, falling to 1-2. Michael Gleason pitched the final three innings for Salem in his 2012 season debut, shutting down the Birds and striking out four to pick the save.
The Red Sox and Pelicans will play two on Saturday night, a pair of seven-inning contests that will commence at 6:05. In game one, Ryan Pressly will throw against the Carolina League ERA leader Cody Buckel, and in game two, Manny Rivera gets the ball opposite Randall Rojas.