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Cards keep pace in West with win over Bristol

Trey Williams • Jul 22, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Vampire Appreciation Night got the blood pumping for Casey Turgeon and the Johnson City Cardinals on Monday.

Turgeon went 3-for-3 and hit one of the Cardinals’ three home runs in an 8-4 victory against Bristol.

The victory, which delighted a large crowd on the final night of a homestand, moved Johnson City to 15-14.

Turgeon’s solo home run to lead off the bottom of the third gave Johnson City a 2-0 lead. His two-out RBI single scored Oscar Mercado to make it 4-0 in the fourth. He also singled in the eighth to raise his season average to .402.

“I’m seeing the ball really well,” Turgeon said. “The biggest part is I’m getting the right pitches to hit. I’m not chasing and stuff like that. ...

“I try to keep the same mindset every day. I just come out here and try to scratch a hit out, you know, and it’s been working for me.”

Turgeon also walked twice after working the count full.

“Turgeon is what you call a professional hitter,” Johnson City manager Johnny Rodriguez said. “He sits to his strength. He works the count. He can see the ball early. He doesn’t swing at high pitches, doesn’t swing low. And he takes a pretty good hack for a little guy.”

Mercado, a shortstop with range, displayed a lot of tools. He went 3-for-5 with a double and two stolen bases, and a line-out to center was one of three balls he hit squarely.

He also made an exceptional catch diving to his right to snare Nick Buckner’s slicing line-drive in the eighth.

“Mercado is just a special player,” Rodriguez said.

Jesus Ustariz and Blake Drake also homered in the first three home run-game of the season for Johnson City.

Ustariz (2-for-4, two RBIs) also doubled off the left-field wall. Drake (3-for-5, two RBIs) also had a double, and his two-run home run on a 3-2 pitch capped the Cards’ scoring with one out in the eighth.

“He’s my roommate, so I’m sure we’ll talk about that later,” Turgeon said with a smile. “I’m happy for him. ... Jesus is strong; he’s real strong.”

Johnson City starter Landon Beck allowed two runs in four innings. Kevin Carlow (1-3) gave up one run in an inning for the victory, and Jordan DeLorenzo pitched two shutout innings.

Maximo Rivera was 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk for the Pirates (9-19).

Johnson City opens a three-game series in Princeton tonight, and returns home for a three-game series against Elizabethton on Friday.

Vampire Appreciation Night was a promotion for blood donations.

T.R. Dunn got the heart pumping with a stirring rendition of the national anthem.

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