WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Jhonathan Diaz and two relievers combined to toss a two-hit shutout as the Salem Red Sox downed the Winston-Salem Dash 4-0 at BB&T Ballpark on Monday evening.
The win, coupled with the Wilmington Blue Rocks’ 3-1 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats, increased the Sox’s lead to two games in the Northern Divison, with seven games to play.
After three scoreless frames to start the game, Salem broke through in the top of the fourth inning when Keith Curcio laced a two-out single followed by Victor Acosta’s two-run homer off Dash starter Zach Lewis.
In the seventh inning, Acosta singled and was doubled home by Tanner Nishioka to increase the lead to 3-0. After Elih Marrero singled Nishioka to third, Grant Williams laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Nishioka for the final run of the game.
The four runs were more than enough support for Diaz, who evened his record at 8-8 with six shutout innings, walking two and striking out five.
Zach Schellenger followed with two hitless innings, and Rio Gomez finished the game with a perfect ninth for Salem.
Lewis took the loss to fall to 6-7 after surrendering four runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Salem’s magic number to clinch the division stands at seven with both Wilmington and Potomac, who downed Myrtle Beach 4-1 to stay within two games of the division lead.
ON DECK: Game two of the four-game set is scheduled to feature Salem’s Thad Ward (3-3, 2.36) facing Dash right-hander Jorgan Cavanerio (8-2, 3.03). First pitch is set for 7 p.m.