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Saturday, May 18, 2013
HELLO, OFFENSE: Salem unloaded season highs in runs, hits and extra-base hits and got strong work from three pitchers to defeat Frederick 10-2 on Friday in front of 3,774 at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
WHERE'S THAT BEEN? The Red Sox recorded just 14 hits combined in their most recent homestand against Carolina. They returned home from a 2-4 road trip and took control with seven runs in the first three innings.
CARSON CONNECTS: Reserve catcher Carson Blair, playing for the first time in five days, went 2 for 3 with three runs scored. In the seventh inning, he wailed on a first-pitch fastball from Tommy Winegardner and launched a three-run homer deep into the trees beyond the wall in left.
"You don't feel a thing," Blair said. "Once you hit it, you hear it, and you know you got it. You just smile after that."
Well, he did feel one thing: relief. That was the first homer and initial three RBIs of the season for Blair, who works tirelessly to keep himself sharp between infrequent starts.
"It takes a little tension off," he said with a smile. "Every day you look up there and see that goose egg up there. Now that that's all gone, in RBI situations you kind of relax more."
EXTRA! EXTRA! The Sox broke things open with a five-run third inning that featured half of their eight extra-base hits. Deven Marrero, Garin Cecchini and Henry Ramos doubled and Jose Garcia delivered a two-run triple.
(UN)-BRACE YOURSELF: Kyle Stroup made his first start of the year without a brace protecting his surgically repaired knee. The right-hander went 5 1⁄ 3 innings, allowing one run on six hits to earn his second win.
"It's been a long time coming," Stroup said of removing the brace, which restricted his range of motion. "The past few starts I felt like I didn't really need it, but it's more precaution. I'm over a year out of surgery. It felt good not having it on tonight."
Chris Balcom-Miller and Nate Striz combined to work the final 3 2⁄ 3 innings, yielding just three hits.
LOOSE ENDS: Cecchini finished 3 for 4 with two RBI to raise his Carolina League-leading average to .378 ... Sean Coyle had three hits, indicating his recent slump might be ending ... The crowd was Salem's largest since the April 12 home opener.
ON DECK: Salem RHP Mike McCarthy (2-2, 4.73) takes the mound against Frederick RHP Zach Davies (3-2, 4.43) at 6:05 tonight.
Weather JournalMany very icy despite 'bust' claims