The Myrtle Beach Pelicans' pitching staff struck out a season-high 15 batters Friday night. The other 12 outs were a lot harder to come by.
The Salem Red Sox scored eight unanswered runs - all coming after the first two batters of the inning were retired - to take an 8-2 win over the Pelicans.
"That's a tough way to lose a ballgame, but that's youth," said Pelicans manager Rocket Wheeler. "That's just not knowing how to get that third out."
The lack of offensive support didn't help the Pelicans, who suffered their fourth defeat in their last five home games.
Myrtle Beach (11-24) came into the game batting just .146 during the current homestand and had only four hits Friday. The Pelicans have scored just 10 runs in that five-game span.
At first it looked like Friday night would be a different story for Myrtle Beach after Gerry Rodriguez ripped a two-run home run in the first inning for an early 2-0 advantage.
Starting pitcher Randall Delgado, the reigning Carolina League pitcher of the week, was cruising along with a comfortable lead for a while.
But the seasonlong problems that have plagued the Pelicans quickly resurfaced in the third, when Salem's Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Lavarnway drove in runs to tie the game, and David Mailman's RBI triple in the fourth gave the Red Sox (23-12) a 3-2 lead that Myrtle Beach couldn't overcome.
"Delgado did a great job even if it didn't show on the scoreboard," Wheeler said. "He had a tough time getting that third out and that can kill you."
Delgado (1-3) lasted 42/3 innings, striking out six Red Sox while walking two, but couldn't get out of the jam he created in the fifth. After striking out the first two batters he faced in the frame, Delgado walked one and gave up a single to Ryan Lavarnway, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs on the night.
Reliever Benino Pruneda came in for Delgado and promptly allowed three straight singles to fall behind 5-2 with the bases loaded. Third baseman Samuel Sime then made a throwing error to first to allow another run to cross the plate and that was all the offense the Red Sox needed to put it away.
Pruneda found his groove, striking out five straight batters and six in all, but the Pelicans went hitless for six straight innings and couldn't mount a rally.
Myrtle Beach's Angelino Paulino came in for the final 11/3 innings and struck out three.
Salem starter Alex Wilson (2-1) got the win, allowing only two hits through six innings and striking out five while walking only one.
The Red Sox improved to 4-0 against the Pelicans this season, outscoring them 37-11. The two teams meet again at 7 tonight and at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The Pelicans lost another arm in the bullpen on Friday when right-hander Julio Teheran was sent to Class A Rome.
Former Pelican catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, now with the Texas Rangers, is stuck in Triple-A Oklahoma City not because of his hitting (.350) but because he's apparently forgotten how to throw the ball 60 feet back to the pitcher. In Tuesday night's game he misfired 12 returns, some falling short of the mound and some landing in center field.