Valdez Homers in First Game with Sox, Worcester Falls to Durham

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August 3, 2022 – International League (IL)Worcester Red Sox News Release

WORCESTER, M.A. – Despite Enmanuel Valdez’ first Polar Park home run, the Durham Bulls (56-45) grabbed a 3-1 win over the Worcester Red Sox (51-50) in front of 7,958 on Wednesday afternoon.

Valdez led off the fourth inning for Worcester, and in his second at-bat in the Red Sox organization, he went deep. The 23-year-old, acquired from the Astros in the Christian Vazquez trade, hit a 1-1 pitch to the opposite field in left for a solo shot.

Across two levels, Valdez now has 22 home runs this season, 11 in Double-A and 11 at Triple-A.

That was the early offense for WooSox starter Brian Keller, who did not allow a hit against the first 11 batters he faced. The right-hander ultimately turned in another strong start, tossing six innings of one-run ball with a career-high 10 strikeouts.

Since June 2, Keller has posted a 1.59 ERA, striking out 60 batters in a 45.1 inning span.

His lone mistake came in the sixth, a solo home run by Durham’s Grant Witherspoon. The ball just slipped over the top of the Worcester Wall in right for a game-tying shot.

Still a 1-1 game in the eighth, the Bulls rallied for two runs against Worcester reliever Eduard Bazardo. An at-bat after his homer in the sixth, Witherpoon crushed a go-ahead shot, a 421-foot no doubter to right. David Rodriguez followed with a double, and two batters later, scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-1.

Frank German got the final out the eighth and delivered a scoreless ninth out of the bullpen, giving the right-hander his eighth straight scoreless outing.

The WooSox continue the series at Polar Park on Thursday at 6:45 p.m. against the Durham Bulls, affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Radio coverage is live at 6:25 p.m. on 98.9 Nash Icon and the WooSox Radio Network, while television coverage is on NESN+.

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