Gallegos, RiverDogs win series opener at Savannah

In front of a sellout crowd for "Pink in the Park" at Grayson Stadium, Giovanny Gallegos combined with Rookie Davis, Rony Bautista and Cesar Vargas for a 3-1 Charleston RiverDogs win over the Savannah Sand Gnats on Saturday night in South Atlantic League action.

Charleston improved to 22-19, while Savannah fell to 28-13. The RiverDogs lead the four-game series by a 1-0 margin and climbed within six games of the first-place Sand Gnats.

Although Savannah scored a run on a late groundout, the Sand Gnats went 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

Gallegos' win ended a personal streak of 10 consecutive losing decisions. His last victory came on July 2, 2013, when the Staten Island Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Cyclones in a matchup of New York affiliates. A different RiverDogs streak continued as Mike Ford's eighth-inning single extended his on-base streak to a career-high and team-best 14 consecutive games.

Two runs in the first inning provided Charleston with an early 2-0 lead. A game-opening error allowed Tyler Wade to get on base to begin the frame. Wade scored from second base on a one-out single by Aaron Judge for a 1-0 advantage. With two outs and Judge at third, Miguel Andujar singled to score Judge and extend the lead for the RiverDogs.

In the top of the fifth, the RiverDogs added an important insurance run. Gosuke Katoh's one-out bunt single set up Wade, whose groundout moved Katoh to second base. O'Neill singled and brought in Katoh to stretch Charleston's lead to 3-0.

Davis tossed three shutout innings prior to Gallegos' appearance from the bullpen. Savannah pressured Gallegos in the fifth and sixth innings by putting runners in scoring position before the RiverDogs reliever escaped those tight spots. Gallegos also stranded a Sand Gnat at third base in the seventh during his final inning of work.

Bautista induced a double play by Wade, Katoh and Ford in the eighth inning but had trouble getting the final out. After a single and a walk for Savannah, Vargas relieved Bautista and got Colton Plaia to end the inning with a fly out. In the ninth, the Sand Gnats opened with back-to-back singles against Vargas and broke up the shutout with a groundout that scored Champ Stuart. Vargas answered with a game-ending strikeout to protect the RiverDogs' victory.

Gallegos has a 1-3 record this season by picking up the win in relief. Savannah's Robert Gsellman allowed two unearned runs but suffered the loss, sliding to 2-3. Vargas nailed down his second save of the season, both coming against the Sand Gnats.

Game two of this four-game series is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. Sunday with Charleston RHP Luis Severino (1-1, 1.95 ERA) pitching against Savannah RHP Chris Flexen (1-4, 6.98 ERA).