This pulled the Cards within 2 1/2 games of first place in the Appalachian League’s West Division with eight games to play in the regular season. The race will surely come down to the final few days of the season as the Cards have two final home series to make matters better for Johnson City.
JC, however, took a small step backward on Wednesday, dropping a 4-1 series opener to Greeneville at TVA Credit Ballpark.
The Cards, who had opportunities late but could not capitalize, lost a game in the standings as Elizabethton laid a 10-2 whipping on Bristol. Moreover, the Astros pulled within a game of Johnson City for the division’s second playoff spot.
Irving Lopez began the bottom of the first inning with a double down the line for the Cards. Lopez later advanced to third base on a sac fly to deep left field by Chase Pinder.
The Cards did cash in on the opportunity as Julio Rodriguez hit a chopper to shortstop Brody Westmoreland. Westmoreland then made a throwing error to first base and Lopez was able to score. The Cards led 1-0 after the opening frame.
In the second, Cards starter Alvaro Seijas was in a bases-loaded jam with only one out. Fortunately, the Cards defense was not shaken and was able to turn the 5-6-3 double play on a chopper hit directly to second baseman Lopez .
In the top half of the third inning, Greeneville was able to score twice on three singles and a sacrifice fly. Wilson Amador, Gilberto Celestino, and Frankeny Fernandez accounted for the hits and Roman Garcia got an RBI via the sac fly.
Amador had the only multi-hit performance in the game, going 2 for 3.
Other than some early blemishes, both starting pitchers were shutting down opposing offenses, routinely going three up and three down. Seijas was being efficient and keeping the ball out of play.
If Seijas was good, then Greeneville starter Jairo Solis was better as he gave up only two hits and struck out six in his five innings of work. The zeros were abundant on the score board and in the box score after three innings.
Astros extend lead
In the seventh, Seijas was finally solved by the Astros offense as they scored on a double by Amador that scored Joan Mauricio from first. Amador advanced to third on the throw.
Amador later scored on a line drive single by Juan Pineda, making it a 4-1 game. Seijas was relieved by Will Changarotty and Seijas ended his night with seven strikeouts.
The Cards will continue the three-game set with the Astros tonight, with the first pitch set for 7.