Keys Drop Home Opener to Salem Red Sox

Keys Drop Home Opener to Salem Red Sox

The Salem Red Sox spoiled the Frederick Keys home opener, winning 5-4. The fans new fireworks would come after the game, but they got treated to a show during it. By the end of the game four home runs were launched in Harry Grove Stadium, lighting up the new scoreboard.

The Frederick Keys (5-4) opened up Harry Grove Stadium for 2009 Friday night with a 5-4 loss to the Salem Red Sox (4-5) despite a powerful season debut for utility man Matt Tucker.

Tucker, recently added to the Keys roster to replace the injured Ryan Adams (groin), got the start at second and had a big night. He went 2-5 with a home run, double and a pair of RBI's, in front of 6,281 fans, one of the largest Opening Day crowds in Keys history.

In his first at-bat Tucker drove in centerfielder Matt Angle on a double to left-center that one-hopped the wall. Then, in the bottom of the sixth Tucker led off the inning with a home run to left-center, this time a little higher than where his double landed, pulling the Keys to within one at the time.

Angle led off with an infield single to third set up Tucker's first-inning double. Salem's Zak Farkes knocked it down but did not make a throw after bobbling the transfer. Angle promptly stole second, his third stolen base in three attempts this year.

Third baseman Tyler Henson later drove in Tucker for his fifth RBI of the year. The rally stopped there, though, as Henson was picked off first base and caught trying to get to second.

Tim Bascom, who battled a lingering oblique injury in 2008, is healthy now, but took the loss to fall to 1-1. He pitched five innings, gave up seven hits, four runs, only three earned, and walked just one batter, while striking out two.

Bascom looked sharp through the first two innings but gave up a two-run home run in the top of the third. Salem's Chih-Hsien Chiang hit a ground-ruled double to center and one out later, right fielder Jason Place blasted his first homer of the year to left field.

"After the first couple of innings I started getting the ball down a little more and having a little more success, but overall I just left the ball up and they hit mistakes," Bascom said.

In the top of the fourth Bascom quickly got ahead of the catcher Luis Exposito, but on a two-ball, two-strike count, Exposito lined his first homer of the year down the left field line. The following inning Place tacked another run on for the Red Sox with a sacrifice fly to center. This run, however, was unearned as he was helped out by Keys' left fielder Kraig Binick on the play before.

Sox prospect and designated hitter Ryan Kalish hit a broken-bat bloop double to left, but Binick's throw into second sailed over everyone and out of play behind the Key's bullpen in right field. Kalish was awarded third.

Jake Renshaw was the first out of the bullpen and he gave up one run in two innings, walking one. Luis Lebron then came in and pitched back-to-back scoreless innings, keeping the Keys in the game.

Chris Vinyard, the Keys' designated hitter, launched a towering solo home run to left field that cleared ever level of advertisements to bring Frederick back to within one, again. The Keys then had a chance to tie the game in the ninth.

First baseman Brandon Waring led off with a triple down the left field line putting the Keys in position to tie the game up, but Frederick could not come through. Keys manager Richie Hebner knows his team let one get away.

"We got a nice team here," Hebner said. "We're gonna loose games like that. You got a man at third, no outs, you like to think you can tie it up anyhow and go to extra innings and see what happens from there, but we didn't."

Notes

Pedro Florimon Jr. is still streaking to start the season. He has now played in eight of the first nine Keys games and has a hit in each game. The 22-year-old shortstop who is known for his glove has 10 hits and three walks, batting .323 with a 389 OBP. He is not just spraying singles around the park either, he has one of each extra base hit this season.

Ryan Adams' groin injury is supposed to be a minor one, according to Hebner. Adams was off to a hot start after really breaking out the bat last year with the Shorebirds.

If you are wondering where Matt Tucker came from, he was on the Aberdeen roster. While Aberdeen will not start until after the June draft, injured players, or players staying in extended spring training need to be on a roster. Technically, Tucker was "called up from Aberdeen," but that clearly was not the case.

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