Sever, Mudcats rally to knock off Red Sox, 7-6
Carolina left 13 batters stranded in Friday's win over Salem
ZEBULON, NC — Despite blowing an early four-run lead, the Carolina Mudcats rallied to beat the Salem Red Sox, 7-6, in ten innings on Friday.
Manager Scooter Tucker was proud to see his Mudcats hard work come to fruition in such dramatic fashion.
“These guys have been really battling for weeks,” said Carolina’s headman. “It was great to see them get the big hits and the pitching to shut them down late.”
Vick got the Mudcats rolling offensively opening the bottom of the first with a double to right center off Red Sox starter Justin Haley. Yhoxian Medina followed with a textbook sacrifice down the first base line getting Vick to third with only one out. Haley then walked Joe Sever before the Mudcats drew first blood on Yandy Diaz’s broken-bat groundout to third. The next batter, Jeremy Lucas, quickly doubled Carolina’s lead plating Sever on a scorching single up the middle to make it 2-0.
Carolina added to its lead in the bottom of the third, oddly enough again by virtue of a broken-bat groundout. Medina opened the frame with a triple to center, with his line drive falling just past the outstretched arm of Salem centerfielder Matty Johnson. Sever then brought Medina in on a chopper to the shortstop as the Mudcats grabbed a 3-0 advantage.
The Mudcats early offensive production forced Salem manager Carlos Febles to turn to his bullpen early. Carolina chased Haley after just 3.0 innings as the right-hander earned no decision after allowing three earned runs on four hits while walking one and striking out one.
But the Red Sox bullpen wouldn’t fare much better with Nate Reed on in relief for the bottom of the fourth. Reed hit Monsalve then walked Jerrud Sabourin before James Roberts flew out. Luigi Rodriguez then filled the bases with a bloop single into left. Vick nearly broke the game open, but his screaming line drive was snagged by Salem second baseman Ryan Dent. Carolina didn’t completely waste the scoring opportunity, as Monsalve scored on a Medina walk as the Mudcats went up 4-0.
Salem managed to get on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth as the Red Sox finally got to Brown. Anuery Tavarez reached to open the inning after a routine fly out was dropped by right fielder Luigi Rodriguez. A fielder’s choice put Mario Martinez at first instead of Tavarez, and the Salem first baseman moved into scoring position as Ryan Dent grounded to short for the second out. With Johnson at the plate, a wild pitch from Brown allowed Martinez to move up to third. Johnson then singled to right for the first Red Sox run. After Mike Miller walked, Jantzen Witte followed with another single to right scoring Johnson. Carson Blair kept the two-out rally alive as his single to left brought in Miller as Salem pulled within a run at 4-3.
The Red Sox drew even in the following inning as Tavarez sent a solo homerun over the short fence in right to make it 4-4. A two-out single from Ryan Dent later in the sixth ended Brown’s outing as Carolina turned to Josh Martin. With Johnson at the plate, Dent stole second then scored the go-ahead run as Johnson singled up the middle. A Miller single to right followed as Johnson scored for a 6-4 Red Sox lead.
Brown earned no decision after his 5.2 inning start. The towering righty allowed five runs, but only two were earned because of the Rodriguez error. The runs came on seven hits as Brown walked two and struck out three.
Despite his late struggles, Tucker was pleased with the start from Brown: “I’m not sure if he got tired late, but he was really great early. It was an encouraging start.”
Sever quickly got one back for Carolina with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, sending his first homer of the season, a solo shot, out to right making it 6-5.
Tucker noted that while Sever’s hit in the tenth will be more talked about, the homerun was also crucial: “I think it really helped us get momentum back after giving up the lead.”
Carolina got the tying run into scoring position in the eighth after Rodriguez singled and moved up to second on a Vick sacrifice bunt, but Kyle Martin buckled down to retire Medina and Sever to preserve the slim Salem advantage.
The Mudcats appeared beaten, down to their final out in the bottom of the ninth. But Monsalve’s double put the tying run in scoring position and ignited a raucous holiday crowd. Sabourin then sent the game into extras with single to center as pinch runner Cody Ferrell touched the plate to tie it at 6.
Tucker felt his team’s ability to claw back in the ninth was the difference.
“Once we got the run in the ninth the momentum changed,” said Tucker. “The guys were excited and went out there and made the plays.”
Grant Sides (3-0, 2.90 ERA) got the win for Carolina pitching a scoreless top of the tenth before Sever’s heroics in the bottom of the inning.
Tucker praised the effort from his bullpen as an instrumental part of the win: “Jacob (Lee) pitched two good innings then Grant Sides shut them down at the end. They gave us some big late innings.”
After Vick earned a one-out walk, Medina got the winning to third with a base hit to left. Salem turned to Matty Ott to escape the jam, but Sever quickly sent his offering into right.
With the win, the Mudcats are now 10-6 in the second half and 39-44 overall. Salem falls to 7-8 for the back half to sit at 40-43 for the full 2014 season.
The win puts Carolina on a four-game win streak, their first of the season.