Streaking Astros outslug Johnson City
Jul 20, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Sometimes all a team needs is one extra swing.An infield pop fly was missed by Johnson City third baseman Ronnierd Garcia with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, and Greeneville's Juan Santana hit a game-tying home run two pitches later.In the end, the first-place Astros walked away with an 11-10 victory over the Cardinals in an Appalachian League baseball game Saturday night at Cardinal Park.The game featured 20 hits, five errors, 15 bases on balls, four hit batters, four wild pitches, botched rundowns, a player running through a coach's stop sign, and lasted three hours and 34 minutes.The loss pushed Johnson City (14-14) into fourth place in the West Division while Greeneville improved to 19-10.It looked like the Cardinals would wrap up the win as Norge Paredes got Angel Ibanez to pop up with two outs. Garcia circled under the high pop, but couldn't get a glove on it as it landed on the chalk just a few feet behind the third base bag for an error.“It was just an unfortunate situation,” said Cardinals manager Joe Kruzel. “Those things happen in this game. We still had a two-run lead after that play.”Paredes couldn't pick up his teammate as Santana ripped a line drive over the left field wall to tie the game at 10-10.After the Cardinals missed a golden opportunity to win in the bottom of the ninth — striking out twice at the top of the order with a runner on third base — Greeneville got a one-out double from Brett Phillips in the top of the 10th inning.Paredes then uncorked a wild pitch to move Phillips to third base, and Tyler White made him pay with a sacrifice fly to center field.The Cardinals got a runner on base in the bottom of the inning, but Rowan Wick's sharp line drive was turned into an unassisted game-ending double play by White at first base.“You can't do anything about a line drive,” said Kruzel.Despite the mistakes by his team during the game, Kruzel said he wasn't going to chew too hard on his players.“They played hard, played their hearts out, and came up short,” said Kruzel. “We gave them extra outs, and you can't do that against a good team. We didn't make a lot of mistakes, but we seemed to make them at the wrong time.”Paredes (1-1) was tagged with the loss and a blown save. He worked four innings, allowing three hits and three runs, one earned.Tyler Brunnemann (2-0) got the win for the Astros with two clean innings.Kenny Peoples-Walls had a nice night at the plate for the Cardinals. He went 3 for 5 with a homer and four RBIs.Luis Perez, Garcia and Richy Pedroza each totaled two hits.Santana, who finished with three RBIs, was the only Greeneville player with two hits. Johnson City put itself in position to win in the bottom of the eighth inning. Perez got things started with a 400-foot double to center field. Garcia did his job, moving Perez to third with a grounder to second.Wick followed with another grounder, and the Astros had Perez caught halfway between home and third. However, they messed up the rundown and Perez was safe at third while Wick hustled to second base.That brought Peoples-Walls to the plate, and he authored a crushed line drive to left-center field to plate a pair of runs and give the Cardinals a 10-8 lead.The game started on the wrong note for the Cards, who trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the second inning — thanks in part to a solo homer by Greeneville's Brian Holberton.However, Johnson City took advantage of Enderson Franco's wildness. After a single and a pair of strikeouts, Franco walked four straight batters to force in a pair of runs and tie the game.Then Brett Wiley greeted relief pitcher Christian Garcia with a two-run single to make it 4-2.The lead was short-lived, however, as Greeneville pushed across a pair in the top of the third. White had an RBI double, and Darwin Rivera drove in a run with a single.Trailing 5-4, Johnson City bounced back with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Peoples-Walls stroked an RBI double down the left field line, and Pedroza added an RBI single. Another run scored on an error.Greeneville got right back at it in the seventh inning thanks to sacrifice flies from Ibanez and Jake Mayfield and an RBI single from Santana, giving the Astros an 8-7 lead.Walls tied the game with a towering solo blast to left-center field leading off the bottom of the seventh inning.The teams meet again today at 6 p.m.