After getting shut out for eight innings, the Johnson City Cardinals rallied in the ninth to force extra innings, but came up short in a 3-2 loss to the Greeneville Astros on Saturday night at Pioneer Park.
Ildemaro Vargas led off the top of the ninth with a single, and Adam Ehrlich followed a two-run homer to tie and force extra innings. Johnson City reliever Cesar Aguilar shut down Greeneville in the bottom of the inning, but gave up the RBI single in the 10th that won the game.
Greeneville starting pitcher Daniel Minor pitched five perfect innings, sitting down 17 batters in a row after giving up a pair of singles to Vargas and Ehrlich in the first.
Johnson City finally put a runner on base with two out in the eighth, after Greeneville reliever Zachary Dando walked Ricardo Lizcano. Dando, who had retired five straight after taking over for Minor, was pulled for Jordan Jankowski, who gave up a single and to Lance Jeffries before striking out C.J. McElroy to end the inning.
Ehrlich tied it up with his homer the next inning, then back-to-back singles by Bruce Caldwell and Carson Kelly chased Jankowski. Euris Quezada replaced him and got Gerwuins Velazco to ground into a double play to end the threat.
The Cards got the go-ahead run in scoring position in the 10th. After Lizcano and Jeffries struck out, McElroy singled and stole second, but Quezada struck out Vargas to end the inning. Quezada got the win, improving to 3-1.
Greeneville’s winning run came with two out in the 10th. Brian Blasik singled with one out, then reached second on a groundout, and after an intentional walk, came home on a single by Ariel Ovando.
Ovando also delivered the Astros’ other runs in the fourth, hitting a triple to score Jean Batista, and coming home on a single by Terrell Joyce.