FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Checking in on the Carolina Mudcats, who start their penultimate long homestand of the season in good shape to make a run over the final month.

Mudcats pitcher Danny Salazar

It’s the opener of a three-game set against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, whose lead over the third-place Mudcats in the Carolina League’s Southern Division is three games.

Danny Salazar (0-2, 2.96) will take on the Pelicans’ Randy Henry (5-6, 2.57) in the series opener.

The night turns out to be a great pitchers’ duel, and Salazar — who has been on a long road back from elbow surgery — gets his first win since 2010 in a 2-1 Carolina victory.

The Mudcats take the early lead with a pair of runs in the first. Tony Wolters leads off with a single, then advances on a Bo Greenwell single before Giovanny Urshula grounds into a double play. Jesus Aguilar’s single to left scores the first run before Carlos Moncrief’s double to right scores Aguilar.

The Pelicans cut the lead in half in the fourth. Tomas Telis leads off with a single up the middle, scoring when Jhonny Gomez reaches on a one-out error to Wolters at second.

Salazar goes five innings and allows the unearned run on three hits with four strikeouts against one walk. Jordan Cooper goes three scoreless innings to set up Trey Haley for his second save.

Henry has a quality start in the loss, going six innings and allowing two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts against a pair of walks.

Wolters and Ronny Rodriguez are the only players with two hits each.

They said it …

Mudcats manager Edwin Rodriguez: “The guys have been playing well. We came back well from a day off and want to finish strong for the last month. The pitching staff was great tonight. This game is all about pitching, and Danny did a great job setting the tone.”

Salazar: “My outing was good. It was the first time in a long time I’ve pitched five innings because I’ve been on a pitch limit. And our bullpen was great. This game was important because we’re trying to catch them, and we did a good job.”

Wolters: “I’m just trying to go see pitches my first at-bat and then get a hit to get the team going. I want to be that sparkplug.”

What does it all mean?
That the Mudcats enter August just two games out of first place.

Stars of the game
1. Salazar.
2. Wolters.
3. Haley.

Play of the game
Moncrief’s RBI double.

Mudcats: Won 3.
Myrtle Beach: Lost 2.

Season series
Myrtle Beach leads 8-6.

On deck
Mudcats (Mike Rayl 6-8, 4.62) vs. Myrtle Beach (Randol Rojas 8-2, 2.88), Wednesday, 7:15 p.m.