WELCOME CHANGE: The Salem Red Sox found a much-needed exit portal out of their recent offensive funk.
After scoring just one run in the first two games of this series, the Sox plated three in the bottom of the first inning Wednesday and rolled to a 7-0 victory over Wilmington in front of an announced crowd of 1,403 at Haley Toyota Field.
Salem (17-27) snapped a four-game losing streak, winning for just the second time in nine games.
FAST START: The first four Salem batters of the game reached base — three on singles and one on a hit by pitch that forced in a run. Garrett Benge and Marcus Wilson followed with sacrifice flies to give the Sox a quick 3-0 lead.
MOUND WORK: Sox starter Enmanuel De Jesus logged his finest start of the season, firing six shutout innings. He worked around two hits and three walks while striking out six.
After posting a 4.97 ERA while losing his first three starts, De Jesus (3-3) has won three straight decisions.
BETTER BATTING: Each of the first six batters in the Salem lineup recorded at least one hit, with Marcus Wilson going 2 for 3 with four RBIs to lead the way.
First baseman Pedro Castellanos also had two hits for the Sox, including his first home run of the year. It was just the second longball Salem has hit at Haley Toyota Field.
GOOD THING IT WASN’T CLOSE: Wilmington (28-18) entered the game with a .199 team average but still leads the Carolina League’s Northern Division by five games.
How have the Blue Rocks done it? It starts with their 16-3 record in one-run games.
LOOSE ENDS: Sox leadoff man Jarren Duran went 1 for 3 with a walk and is batting .400…Shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald snapped an 0 for 11 skid with a single in the first…Robbie Baker and Andrew Politi combined for three innings of scoreless relief.
ON DECK: The Sox and Blue Rocks conclude their four-game series at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, with Salem RHP Kutter Crawford slated to face Wilmington LHP Marcelo Martinez.