The first three innings told the tale of the Johnson City Cardinals’ first loss of the season.
While the Danville Braves scored six runs over those innings, the Cardinals stranded five runners over the same stretch. Ultimately, it led to a 9-2 loss at Cardinal Park.
The Braves improved to 3-1 with the victory, and the Cardinals fell to 4-1 after leaving a total of 13 runners on base and committing four errors.
“We had some opportunities early in the game, but we didn’t capitalize on them,” Johnson City manager Joe Kruzel said. “We gave them too many opportunities and didn’t make pitches when we needed to. Unfortunately, that’s what’s going to happen when you give teams extra outs. We couldn’t execute when we needed to.”
Hansel De Los Santos suffered the loss for Johnson City, giving up five hits and hitting two batters over the first three innings. All six of the runs he allowed were earned.
Bryan DeLaRosa provided the Braves’ first run in the top of the second with a RBI double. Kyle Wren later added a RBI triple as Danville took a 3-0 lead.
The Braves tacked on three more runs in the top of the third. Connor Lien had a two-run triple, followed by a RBI single by DeLaRosa.
Down 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Cardinals finally got on the scoreboard with a bases-loaded walked by Justin Ringo to score Lance Jeffries Jr.
Lead-off hitter Richy Pedroza had Johnson City’s only extra-base hit, a RBI double to score Jeffries in the eighth inning. Pedroza led the Cards at the plate, going 2-for-3, while Ringo reached base three times on walks.
Johnson City also had some good moments in the late innings from reliever Steven Sabatino. After giving up one run in the fifth inning, he struck out the side in both the sixth and eighth innings. Sabatino ended with seven strike outs in four innings of work.
“He gave us really what we needed,” Kruzel said. “We needed someone to go out there and throw multiple innings. Tonight, he was the guy who kept us in it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t cash in tonight offensively or defensively.
“That’s going to happen once in a while, but tomorrow is a new day. We still have a chance to win the series so that’s what we have to try to do.”
After the teams split the first two games of the series, the deciding game is scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m.