The Johnson City Cardinals’ first off day of the season was preceded by an off night.
The Cardinals never appeared to clock in while Elizabethton batted for 23 minutes during a seven-run first inning, and the Appalachian League-leading Twins rolled to a 12-0 victory on Monday at Cardinal Park.
Elizabethton starter Hudson Boyd (2-3) pitched six shutout innings and third baseman Travis Harrison had five of the Twins’ 19 hits, including a two-run home run during the first.
The 19-year-old Boyd, a 6-foot-2, 264-pound right-hander who was drafted 55th overall in 2011, struck out five while allowing two hits and no walks.
The game began ominously enough for Johnson City. Elizabethton leadoff batter Candido Pimentel dashed to first base to beat second baseman Trevor Martin’s throw to first on what looked like a routine play.
“It all started because of speed,” said Elizabethton manager Ray Smith, who hopes to spend the off day today fishing and picking blueberries in Beulah Dean, N.C. “He hits a routine ground ball and beats it.”
Some 20 minutes later, Pimentel capped the opening frame with a two-run double.
Johnson City starter Bryan Martinez allowed seven runs in one-third of an inning, but could’ve had a four-batter inning had plays been made on Pimentel and cleanup batter Rory Rhodes’ ground ball to third baseman Carson Kelly.
“We could’ve been out of that inning with no runs scored,” Johnson City manager Oliver Marmol said. “So looking back at it – I mean, that’s what kind of opened it up and we were out of the game from that point on. So it’s absolutely frustrating.”
Harrison’s home run cleared the left-field wall in a hurry. It came on an inside 0-1 fastball. He followed with two line-drive singles, and was 5-for-5 when a bloop fell into left-center field in the seventh.
A 6-for-6 night would’ve tied a minor league record, but he reached on an error in the ninth.
Bo Altobelli and Jorge Polanco were each 3-for-5 for the Twins (15-6). Two of Altobelli’s were infield choppers.
Pimentel, Max Kepler, Adam Walker and Kevin Mention had two hits apiece. Mention and Harrison each scored three runs.
Johnson City manager Oliver Marmol was ejected in the bottom of the sixth after Bruce Caldwell was called out on strikes on a 3-2 pitch. Marmol appeared to be a goner before he got out of the third-base coach’s box, and kicked a little dirt on home plate before leaving after a brief but adamant difference of opinion with umpire Nick Garvey.
“I’m gonna back my players up every day to let them understand that I’m here for them,” said Marmol, who plans to go whitewater rafting with his wife today.
Ronald Castillo and Gerwuins Velazco were each 2-for-4 for the Cardinals, who finished with six hits and committed five errors.
Former Johnson City shortstop Sam Tuivailala made his pitching debut. He struck out two while working a perfect eighth.
The game was delayed 22 minutes during the middle of the eighth inning. Several outfield light towers went out, as did many of the streetlights on Legion Street.
Johnson City (10-11) opens a three-game series at Bristol, and Elizabethton begins a three-game series at Greeneville on Wednesday at 7 p.m.