The Johnson City Cardinals led early, but the Appalachian League West Division-leading Greeneville Astros rallied late to capture a 7-4 decision Sunday.
It was the Astros’ 10th consecutive victory, a franchise record.
The Astros scored five times in the seventh inning, sending 11 batters to the plate. Chase McDonald had a two-run single to center and Juan Santana added a two-run double to left to turn the tide. Johnson City used four pitchers during the inning as well.
Earlier McDonald had a solo home run in the second inning to start the seven straight runs posted on Greeneville’s side of the scoreboard. Jake Mayfield added another solo home run for the visitors to start their half of the fifth. Santana also contributed two hits in the contest including a double.
Greeneville became the first team in the Appalachian League to the 20-win mark with a 20-10 mark.
The Cardinals (14-15) were able to put together three hits to load the bases in the opening inning before Justin Ringo drew a bases-loaded walk to push in Brett Wiley. After a strikeout, Steve Bean reached on a fielding error and J.J. Altobelli came into score. Lance Jefferies later worked another bases-loaded walk which also ended the night for Chris Lee.
“You’re in position where you knock their starter out in the first and you feel pretty good about that,” Johnson City manager Joe Kruzel said about the opening inning. “We had an opportunity to add on there, but couldn’t.”
Johnson City tried to rally with a run in the bottom of the eighth when Yoenny Gonzalez laced a double into the right-center gap and Jefferies raced in from first on the two-out hit.
Altobelli and Jeffries both had two-hit efforts for the home team.
“The unfortunate part for us was that we couldn’t extend the lead early on,” Kruzel said. “That allowed Greeneville to get back into the game with their bullpen.”
The Greeneville bullpen went 8 1/3 innings and allowed just one late run on seven hits. The first hurler out the bullpen was Ryan Connolly who tossed a career-high 4 1/3 innings before Krishawn Holley went the next 2 2/3 to earn the win. Gonzalo Sanudo recorded the last four outs in order for his fifth save.
The Cardinals’ Steve Sabatino suffered the defeat on the mound after allowing three runs during the extended seventh inning on a pair of hits and a walk. All happened after Hansel De Los Santos threw five innings to start the game with the two solo home runs as a part of the six hits.
Johnson City and Greeneville will wrap up the three-game set at Cardinal Park today at 7 p.m.