JOHNSON CITY, TN- The Cardinals’ offense continued their red-hot tear, as Johnson City scored seven runs in the fifth en route to an impressive 12-5 victory over the Elizabethton Twins in front of 3,241 fans at TVA Credit Union Ballpark on Saturday night.
The victory was the sixth in-a-row for the Redbirds, as they improved their overall mark to 27-22 on the year. Elizabethton’s loss drops them to 29-21 on the campaign.
Thanks to Greeneville’s pair of losses to Kingsport coupled with Johnson City’s win, the Cardinals now sit alone in the final playoff spot in the Appalachian League’s Western Division. The Redbirds are also now just a game-and-a-half back of Elizabethton for first place.
Down 2-0 after the first inning, Johnson City scored the next 11 runs in the affair. After C Julio Rodriguez (3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, BB) singled and 3B Brady Whalen (1-2, 3 R, 2B, BB) got hit by a pitch, SS Imeldo Diaz (4-5, RBI) came through to tie the game. The 19-year-old singled to score Rodriguez, while Whalen crossed on a scoring error to even the game.
The Redbirds took the lead for good in the third. 2B Irving Lopez (1-6, 2 R) and CF Chase Pinder(1-2, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, SO) reached on a single and hit-by-pitch, respectively, to start the inning. After a wild pitch, Julio Rodriguez put the Cardinals in front, 3-2, on a RBI ground out to short.
1B Carlos Rodriguez (1-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 SO) made it a 4-2 contest on a run-scoring single in the fourth before the Cards’ offense erupted in the fifth.
LF Wadye Ynfante (0-2, R, RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO) drew a free pass to begin the inning, setting the stage for Julio Rodriguez. The backstop launched a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run home run. The blast – his third of the year – put the Cardinals ahead, 6-2.
The rally kick started again with one out. Whalen walked, Diaz singled and RF Carlos Talavera (0-3, R, 2 BB, 3 SO) drew a free pass to load the bases up for Carlos Rodriguez. The first baseman was plunked to force home a run, extending Johnson City’s lead to 7-2.
After a pair of bases-loaded walks, Julio Rodriguez came through again. The 20-year-old smashed a two-run double down the line in left – collecting four RBI in the inning – to make it an 11-2 contest.
Courtesy: Johnson City Cardinals