WELCOME BACK: On the one-month anniversary of his last win, Miguel Celestino spun a masterpiece, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning to lead the Red Sox to a 4-0 victory over Lynchburg in front of 2,142 at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
“He threw four pitches tonight, in and out, changing speeds,” Salem skipper Billy McMillon said of the 6-foot-6 right-hander. “It’s really exciting to watch.”
UNCHARTED WATERS: Celestino finished with eight scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and no walks while striking out three.
The way he’d been pitching lately – he was 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA over his previous four starts – Celestino seemed an unlikely candidate to become the first Salem pitcher to last longer than seven innings, yet there he was.
“The big thing that we’ve told Miguel is to trust his stuff, that he’s got stuff that has big-time potential,” McMillon said. “If he trusts that and trusts all his pitches, he’ll have a chance to be pretty successful.”
FLIRTATION: Adam Milligan broke up the no-hit bid with a clean single to center with two outs in the top of the seventh. Before that, though, the Sox made several outstanding plays to keep the Hillcats out of the hit column.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts made a neat backhanded stop and great throw from deep in the hole to rob a single in the fifth. In the sixth, third baseman Heiker Meneses made a diving snag of a sharp grounder headed for the left-field corner, scrambled to his feet and nipped Edward Salcedo at first.
“There’s something you can say about a quick tempo,” McMillon said.
MORE LEATHER: Fittingly, the game ended on a diving play by first baseman Travis Shaw. In the previous inning, second baseman Sean Coyle started a nifty 4-6-3 double play by ranging up the middle and making a backhanded flip to Bogaerts.
LOOSE ENDS: The Sox got three runs in the second fueled by bunt hits by Christian Vazquez and Shannon Wilkerson and an RBI single by Coyle…Pete Ruiz tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for Salem…Meneses went 2 for 3 and was the only player on either team with multiple hits.
ON DECK: The Sox close their five-game homestand at 7:05 tonight, with RHP Keith Couch (6-6, 4.13) scheduled to face Lynchburg RHP Gus Schlosser (8-4, 3.64). – Aaron McFarling