By JOHN MCDONALD
EVERETT – Pitching, defense and timely hitting. The Everett AquaSox had all three elements in a textbook victory over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Friday.
The AquaSox (13-11) snapped a four-game losing streak with the 3-1 win.
"We needed that. That was a confidence builder right there," said starting pitcher Roy Wells (2-1).
Wells limited the Volcanoes to one run on six hits over five-plus innings. He was followed by two hitless relief efforts, three innings by Steve Kent and one by John Butler, who earned his third save.
The defense turned four double plays and Guillermo Martinez had two, two-out RBI singles.
"In batting practice (Martinez) was more focused than I’ve ever seen him," said acting manager Darrin Garner. "He was doing things I haven’t seen him do lately and he took that into the game."
Of the four double plays, three of which were started by third baseman Jake Daubert, none was bigger than the third. Salem-Keizer had already scored a run to trim an Everett lead to one run and had runners at first and third with just one out in the sixth inning. Then the Volcanoes’ Trey Lunsford bounced into an around-the-horn rally killer.
Almost as large was the double play the AquaSox turned with runners at first and second and no outs in the fourth.
The AquaSox, who turned double plays for four consecutive innings (fourth through seventh), also had twin killings with a runner at first and one out in the fifth and a runner at first and no outs in the seventh.
"The defense was great," Wells said. "You can’t ask for anything more."
The AquaSox scored a huge insurance run in the eigthth inning. Mark Carroll drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed to second by Matt Kent and took third on a passed ball. An out later, Martinez lined a ball into the gap at short. Shortstop Ed Maldonado got to it, but couldn’t hold it and Carroll scored.
"We got (hits) at the right time," Garner said. "The balls bounced our way tonight. Lately, we haven’t been getting that kind of luck."
Wells threw five scoreless innings to start the game, but couldn’t get an out in the sixth. Jason Ellison led off the inning with an infield hit. He continued to second on a throwing error by Sox shortstop Corey Freeman and took third on a wild pitch. After Kevin Alexander walked, Lance Niekro singled to right to drive in Ellison and send Alexander to third.
"The last inning I was a little tired," Wells said.
Kent replaced Wells, struck out the first batter he faced and induced the next to ground into an inning-ending double play to preserve a one-run lead.
The AquaSox scored a run without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the third inning. Salem-Keizer starter Deron Featherstone (0-2) walked four straight batters, but Everett had a runner thrown out at home on a double steal try. Still, the Sox got a run when Featherstone uncorked his third wild pitch and second in the inning.
Featherstone, who came into the game with 10 walks in 91/3 innings pitched, left the game after walking his seventh and eighth batters in the fourth inning.
The AquaSox took the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Chuck Lopez led off with a walk, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on an errant pickoff throw and scored on a two out single by Martinez.
Freeman followed Martinez’s hit with a single, but Martinez rounded second too far and was caught off base for the third out.
Wells escaped a second-and-third, one-out jam in the top of the second inning. Bryan Carter followed a Lunsford single with a double into the right-field corner to establish the threat. But Wells struck out back-to-back batters to get out of the fix.
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