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Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The last three innings were much better than the first six, but the Salem Red Sox never recovered from their late start Monday. Salem trailed by nine runs after five innings and fell 9-4 to the Potomac Nationals, who avoided a four-game sweep to win their 54th game of the Carolina League season.
As for Salem (14-10), that was the end of a four-game winning streak. The Red Sox have still won six of their last eight games and are a half game back of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the second half Southern standings. The Sox are tied with Wilmington with the most second half victories.
Salem scored all four runs in the last three innings.
"That team has won 54 games, so it's not like they don't know how to play," Salem manager Billy McMillon said. "We got their number the first three games. They were able to get out to the early lead and we were in the hole."
NEW GUY: Salem second baseman Mookie Betts, a fifth-round draft choice in 2011, arrived from Greenville for the homestand and played in his seventh game. He had his best game in Salem so far, going 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, and a stolen base.
He was hitting .296 with 82 hits, 58 walks, and 33 extra base hits including eight home runs at Greenville. He arrived at Salem with the usual anxieties that accompany in-season promotions.
"That was exactly what happened to me the first couple of games," he said. "I'm like, man, I just moved up and I'm way behind everybody, everybody is this much better. But you get moved up for a reason. Billy, the guys on the team, told me I wasn't way behind, to come in and fit right in. That's all I've tried to do is fit in."
Betts had Salem's first hit against the Nationals.
"After that first little bloop bouncer over the pitcher, I just relaxed at the plate," he said.
Betts excelled in basketball and baseball in high school in Nashville and committed to play baseball for Tennessee before signing with the Red Sox. Those aren't the only sports he is good at. He was the Tennessee boys bowler of the year in 2010.
"My Mom's a bowler, so's my father," he said. "My Mom runs a lot of tournaments back home. Ever since I was baby, I've bowled. I was pretty much raised in a bowling alley. My mother was pregnant with me and still bowling."
BACK ON THE HILL: Salem starting pitching Mike Augliera had his turn pushed back a day after taking a batted ball off the leg in his last start. He struggled giving up eight hits and three walks in 3 1⁄3 innings. "It was good to see him back out there," McMillon said. I expect he's going to be solid his next time out there." ... Relievers Robby Scott and Manny Rivera limited Potomac to three hits and no runs over the last four innings.
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