Myrtle Beach Pelicans left-hander Luis Parra had suffered his worst start of the season his last time out, but if that was in his mind at all Wednesday night as he took the mound again, it was only serving as motivation.
Parra opened with seven scoreless innings before giving up his first runs in the eighth, but he had received plenty of run support by then and the Pelicans finished off a 5-2 win over the visiting Salem Red Sox at TicketReturn.com Field.
It was the fifth-straight victory for the Pelicans, who improved to 34-17.
“[Parra] has done a good job for us. He struggled in his last outing, but I tell you what, he came back,” Pelicans manager Joe Mikulik said. “Our pitching coach [Steve Mintz] had a great plan with him and they went over the last game.”
Parra gave up seven runs (five earned) and eight hits in just four innings May 23, but there was no lingering effect Wednesday.
He ended up scattering four hits and two walks over 7 1/3 innings while striking out four to improve to 5-3 and lower his earned run average to 4.20.
“For him, if he throws a bad pitch to bounce back quick and regroup and make an adjustment and attack the zone [was key],” Mikulik said. “He’s not going to strikeout a lot of guys, but what he’s going to do is keep them off balance and get them to mishit the ball and that’s something that he did.”
Shortstop Hanser Alberto had a solo home run and scored twice for the Pelicans, while designated hitter Zach Cone came through with a two-run double and catcher Jorge Alfaro and right fielder Preston Beck each had an RBI as well.
It was a 5-0 game through seven innings before Salem (27-25) got a two-run homer from Jonathan Roof to chase Parra from the game. But Abel De Los Santos was able to shut the Red Sox down the rest of the way, giving up just one hit in 1 2/3 innings for his second save.
Roof finished 3-for-4 with a double and that homer to lead Salem offensively. Simon Mercedes (2-5) took the loss despite giving up just two runs (one earned) and three hits over six innings.
The Pelicans, meanwhile, will go for the series sweep Thursday night while looking to continue a strong month.
“When you start the season, the plan is for them to come along and if they struggle, struggle early and make adjustments as they go,” Mikulik said. “If anyone’s following this club, it’s a day-by-day process. It’s a process that’s been growing every day. Team chemistry is really good – something we preach on a daily basis – and guys are improving on everything they do. ... It’s a total team effort, and that’s why we’re where we’re at.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318 or on Twitter @RyanYoungTSN.