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Friday, April 26, 2013
MONKEYS TO THE RESCUE: The Salem Red Sox picked a good night to bring the monkey rodeo to town, because there wasn't much else for the crowd of 3,676 to savor Friday as the home team fell to Lynchburg 6-3.
PRIMATE TIME: This marked the second straight year the Sox featured a show by Team Ghost Riders, a traveling outfit that features sheep-dog-riding monkeys who herd goats in the outfield.
The gang performed briefly after the fourth and seventh innings before their main event after the final out.
QUIET BATS: Much of the crowd - the largest since opening night - stuck around for the monkeys, enduring tepid offense from the Red Sox (10-10) until a modest rally in the ninth.
Lynchburg pitchers David Peterson and James Hoyt combined to hold Salem to only three hits over the first eight innings as the road team road team won for the fourth consecutive time in this series.
TURNING POINT: Three straight extra-base hits from Fernando De Los Santos, Matt Weaver and Elmer Reyes leading off the sixth inning broke a 1-1 tie and knocked Salem starter William Cuevas from the game.
Cuevas had been flawless the first time through the order, retiring nine in a row on only 21 pitches.
"He had five innings where he was using his fastball well, moving it around and getting a lot of quick outs," Sox pitching coach Kevin Walker said. "His pitch count was really low through five, and he deserved to go back out for that sixth. Sixth inning, he started leaving a couple pitches up with his fastball and didn't really mix in any offspeed in that inning."
SUDDEN IMPACT: It wasn't the first time Cuevas had been stung by one rough inning. The Venezuelan right-hander entered with a 6.39 ERA, but seven of the nine earned runs he'd allowed had come on two swings - a three-run homer and a grand slam.
"It's good for him to get into these situations," Walker said. "This was a guy who was in Lowell last year, so it's a jump for him. But he's got the stuff to make this jump."
STILL SCORCHING: Salem's Garin Cecchini went 2 for 4 to raise his average to .361. He has 13 hits in his past eight games.
ON DECK: As the monkeys return for one more night, Salem sends RHP Michael McCarthy (0-0, 3.77) to the mound at 6:05 p.m. against Lynchburg RHP Navery Moore (1-2, 7.27).
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