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Starting pitcher Heri Quevedo holds Potomac scoreless through seven innings and the Salem Red Sox hold on for a victory over the Nationals in the opening game of the best-of-five league championship series.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
WOODBRIDGE - Salem's quest for its first Carolina League championship in a dozen years is off to a promising start.
Heri Quevedo tossed seven scoreless innings, leading the visiting Red Sox to a 5-3 victory over Potomac on Saturday in Game 1 of the Mills Cup Championship Series at Pfitzner Stadium.
Game 2 of the best-of-five set will be in Potomac tonight, with right-hander Mike Augliera (9-6, 4.23 ERA) scheduled to start for the Sox. The rest of the games will be played in Salem starting Tuesday.
The key element that got the Sox to this point - dominant pitching - paved the way again on Saturday.
After holding Myrtle Beach scoreless in 19 of the 20 innings played in the Southern Division Championship Series, Quevedo cruised through seven Saturday.
The Dominican right-hander allowed five singles and one walk while striking out four.
Salem's offense got a spike from the return of second baseman Sean Coyle, who initially was not on the playoff roster. He replaced Matt Gedman, who went on the disabled list Saturday.
Coyle served as the DH and batted leadoff. He went 1 for 5,
but the hit was a big one - an RBI double during Salem's three-run fifth inning.
Matty Johnson added an RBI single and Henry Ramos a sacrifice fly during the frame.
The Sox built a commanding 5-0 lead with two more runs in the seventh. Ramos set the table with another single before Keury De La Cruz belted a two-run homer.
Salem's bullpen, which tossed eight scoreless innings in the division series, labored in preserving the lead. Nate Striz allowed two walks and a single in the ninth before being replaced by Matty Ott.
Francisco Soriano and Cutter Dykstra greeted Ott with back-to-back RBI singles. Mookie Betts committed an error that allowed the third run to score, but Ott struck out Michael Taylor with the bases loaded to end the game.
Ramos and De La Cruz finished with two hits apiece for Salem, which won its ninth in a row and 20th in 23 games. David Chester and Sean Coyle also contributed two hits to the eight-hit Sox attack.
Dykstra went 3 for 5 to lead the Nationals, who had the Carolina League's best record (84-55) and staff ERA (3.69) during the regular season.
They won the Northern Division title in both halves and swept Lynchburg with a pair of walk-off wins in its division series matchup. Kevin Keyes went 2 for 4 for Potomac.
The Sox are chasing the fifth Mills Cup title for the Salem franchise.
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