Johnson City manager Joe Kruzel argues with the umpires after getting ejected.
The Elizabethton Twins beat their six-game losing streak into submission on Saturday night at Cardinal Park.
The Twins belted out 16 hits in an 8-0 Appalachian League win over the Johnson City Cardinals. Now 18-16 on the season, the Twins moved within a couple of games of Kingsport for the West Division wild-card spot.
“We got a week’s worth of hits in one night,” Elizabethton manager Ray Smith said. “It was good to see the guys go up there and show a little confidence. When you have that success, it breeds a little confidence. But, we squared up some balls better than we had in a long time."
The Cardinals (15-19), who broke their own seven-game skid a night earlier with a win over the Twins, ended with eight hits. However, they weren’t able to get any of them in a timely manner.
“We just couldn’t put anything together,” Johnson City manager Joe Kruzel said. “We would put a guy or two on (base), but we couldn’t get that next hit. We struggled with that tonight.
“We had some chances for a couple of runs late in the game, but we didn’t deliver. Those kinds of things happen in this game and unfortunately sometimes it comes in bunches.”
The Twins got seven solid innings from starter Randy Rosario, who gave up six hits but struck out nine batters. His manager said the 19-year-old showed better control than in recent outings.
“He has a live arm and the ball runs everywhere,” Smith said. “He can sink it, he can slow it, he can spin it and he can ride it. He doesn’t know where it’s going all the time. It was impressive to see his command tonight.”
He had plenty of run support with the Twins getting things started in the second inning.
After leading off with back-to-back doubles from Mitchell Garver and Jacob Proctor, the Twins tacked on another run on Ryan Walker’s RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
It got worse for Johnson City as Kruzel was ejected in the bottom of the second after home plate umpire Randy Rosenberg missed a call on a fair ball down the third base line. An argument ensued, but it appeared to be over as Kruzel was walking away. Still, he was tossed from the game, leading to further discussion.
“Everybody realizes you’re going to stick up for your players. I expressed my concern in that situation and the bottom line, it was his obiligation to do whatever he felt he needed to do,” Kruzel said. “It was just one of those unfortunate situations, but if it happens again, I’m going to stand up for my players.”
It wasn’t much of a distraction for the Twins, who added to their lead in the top of the fourth.
Dereck Rodriquez, the son of former major league catcher Pudge Rodriquez, ripped a two-run double for a 4-0 Elizabethton advantage.
Then in the bottom of the sixth, Logan Wade crushed a solo home run over right field. Batting in the nine-hole, he was 2-for-4 at the plate, and was one of six Elizabethton players with multiple hits.
The Twins scored three more runs in the top of the ninth. Rory Rhodes pounded a two-run double and Javier Pimentel added a RBI single to cap off a 3-for-5 evening.
For the Cardinals, J.J. Altobelli and Justin Ringo each ended 2-for-4 at the plate. It was another stellar effort for Altobelli, who played collegiately at the University of Oregon. The Johnson City shortstop has hit .300 over his last 10 games.
“The man has put together some good at-bats,” Kruzel said. “He puts the ball in play, moves the ball around and uses the whole field. I think he’s been swinging the ball pretty well over the last few games and stringing together some good at-bats.”
Johnson City starter Hansel De Los Santos (1-3) suffered the loss, giving up eight hits and four runs (all earned) in four innings.
The final game of the series is set for today at 6 p.m.