Pelicans open homestand with rally to drop Red Sox

PelicansAfter falling into an early four-run deficit, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, rallied past the Salem Red Sox for an 8-7 win at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark on Wednesday.

Salem (40-37, 2-5 second half) pounced for four runs to open the scoring in the top of the third. Two hits and a walk loaded the bases with nobody out, and designated hitter Tzu-Wei Lin took advantage with an RBI single to center, putting the Red Sox on top, 1-0. Pelicans starter Fernando Cruz recorded a strikeout, but he walked left fielder Yoilan Cerse to force in a run before serving up a two-run single to right fielder Kevin Heller. With Salem staked to a 4-0 lead, Cruz escaped the jam with back-to-back strikeouts but did not continue after the third inning.

The Pelicans (43-33, 2-5 second half) retaliated for four runs in the bottom of the third. With two runners in scoring position by way of a walk, an infield single and a wild pitch, a fielding error off the bat of Jeimer Candelario scored the first Pelicans run. Jacob Rogers drew next blood with a two-run double to right, and after a ground out, Cael Brockmeyer tied the game 4-4 with a sacrifice fly.

First baseman Jordan Betts led off the fourth inning with a single and third baseman Jose Vinicio followed with a double down the right-field line. Kevin Brown bobbled the ball and allowed Betts to score an unearned run and put the Red Sox back on top, 5-4.

Not to be outdone, the Birds struck for three more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Daniel Lockhart and Brown opened the inning with consecutive singles, and Mark Zagunis was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Chesny Young, the Cubs’ minor league leader in batting, sea-sawed the Pelicans back in front, 6-5, with a two-run double. Candelario added another run with a fielder’s choice groundout.

On the next play, Rogers bounced a grounder to shortstop where Mauricio Dubon fielded and threw to the plate. As Young attempted to score, catcher Jordan Procyshen dropped the ball, but Young was ruled out on runner’s interference. Following the play, Pelicans manager Mark Johnson and assistant coach Chris Gutierrez were each ejected.

Salem drew closer with a run in the seventh on Heller’s RBI single to left, but Pin-Chieh Chen singled and later scored in the eighth to keep Myrtle Beach ahead, 8-6.

Back-to-back hits off of Pelicans reliever Jasvir Rakkar opened the first half of the ninth inning. The Red Sox scratched out another run when Heller collected his fourth hit of the night and fourth RBI of the night. He moved to second base on defensive indifference, but with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, Rakkar struck out the final two hitters of the game to seal his tenth save and the 8-7 Pelicans win.

David Garner (1-0) earned the win in his Pelicans debut, pitching three innings of relief in his first appearance on the hill since his promotion from Class-A South Bend on June 28. The right-hander struck out two and walked one while allowing one run, unearned, on four hits. Juan Paniagua held the Red Sox at bay with two innings out of the bullpen, allowing an earned run on two hits while striking out one and walking one.

Salem starter Ty Buttrey (6-2) pitched five innings but took the loss after being tagged for seven runs, five earned runs, on seven hits. The right-hander walked three and struck out a pair. Kyle Kraus relieved the final three innings of the ballgame and allowed one unearned run on three hits.

The Pelicans will continue their three-game homestand against the Salem Red Sox on Thursday, with the first pitch from TicketReturn.Com Field scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. Left-hander Tyler Ihrig (0-0, 8.10) will get his first start with the Pelicans, while Salem counters with lefty Trey Ball (6-6, 3.70). Both Thursday’s and Friday’s games will feature postgame fireworks.

Photo Credit: “Larry Kave / Myrtle Beach Pelicans”

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