The Sox led the Keys by just two games when the series began last Friday. That’s key, as Salem needs to beat out every team in the Northern Division except Lynchburg, the first half champ, to make the playoffs.
Salem got the series off to a good start with a 6-5 win over Frederick on Thursday. Gerson Bautista got the win for Salem and Stephen Nogosek picked up the save. Both would be traded to the Mets on Monday when the Red Sox traded for Addison Reed.
Friday’s game was rained out and rescheduled for Saturday, when the Sox split a doubleheader. Salem lost the first game, 6-4, but rallied to win the nightcap, 7-4.
On Sunday Salem closed out the series with a 2-0 win as Matthew Kent pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out 10. Nogosek picked up his final save as a member of the Red Sox organization.
On Monday in Winston-Salem the Sox couldn’t prevail in a second straight pitchers’ duel, falling 2-1 to the Dash at BB&T Ballpark.
The Sox (22-16, 62-44) took the lead first and broke up a perfect game but were only able to muster one run on four hits (all singles) and one walk in the ballgame. Winston-Salem (17-20, 41-66) only got six hits in the game, but made them count, as they notched four extra-base hits in the contest. Logan Boyd (ND) made a strong spot start for Salem, as the Sox were down two relievers following the trade of Bautista, Nogosek and AAA reliever Jamie Callahan to the New York Mets earlier in the day.
Neither team was able to score through the first four innings, as Boyd and Dash starting pitcher Dane Dunning kept both teams quiet. Dunning was perfect through four, but the Sox got to him in the top of the fifth. Jordan Betts led off the inning by lining a single to center, and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Dunning fanned Jose Sermo and Austin Rei, but Chris Madera hit a grounder into left with two outs to plate Betts, putting Salem ahead 1-0.
The Dash responded in the bottom of the inning, as Joel Booker reached on a bunt single to lead off the frame before a wild pitch by Boyd got him to second base. Bryant Flete roped a single to center to score Booker and even the game up at 1-1.
After Dash reliever Louie Lechich (W, 2-3) worked around a two-out single in the top of the eighth inning, Winston-Salem moved ahead in the bottom of the eighth against Sox reliever Austin Glorius (L, 4-4), who struck out the first two batters of the frame but walked Brady Conlan. That was the opening Jameson Fisher needed, as the outfielder hit an RBI triple to center to score Conlan and put the Dash ahead 2-1. Matt Foster (S, 1) slammed the door for the Dash in the top of the ninth, and the Sox took the loss.
Boyd had a fine outing for Salem, allowing one run on five hits and three walks in six innings while striking out six. Glorius surrendered a run on one hit and two walks in two innings, fanning a season-best five.
With the loss the Sox remained tied with Lynchburg for first place in the Northern Division second half standings. Both teams were22-16, three and a half games up on Frederick and four games ahead of Wilmington.
Salem was scheduled to play the Dash again Tuesday and Wednesday before moving to Myrtle Beach for four this weekend, beginning tonight. The Sox have a day off Monday, then begin a big six game homestand on Tuesday, August 8. They’ll play three against Buies Creek, the Southern Division leader, and three against Wilmington, who will be trying to make up ground on Salem in the Northern Division playoff race.