A good comeback fell short for Danville on Sunday, but it may have gone a long way toward a Monday victory.
The Braves broke open a close game with a five-run sixth inning, and eventually earned a 6-2 win over Johnson City in an Appalachian League baseball game at Cardinal Park.
The Cardinals fell to 3-2 on the season while Danville improved to 3-2. These teams will meet again tonight at 7 o'clock in the rubber game of the series at the bird yard.
Danville trailed 6-0 after one inning Sunday, but made a pair of rallies before falling short, 10-8.
“The way we came out was a little different than yesterday,” said Braves' manager Randy Ingle. “I was very proud of the way we came back yesterday, and we got off to a better start today.”
Danville struck first, scoring a run in the top of the third on Gerald Chin's double and Keith Curcio's RBI single.
The Braves added to their advantage in the fifth inning. Tanner Murphy visited the unfenced area with a swagger shot over the left-center field fence to make it 2-0.
“When you get up 2-0, you can take a deep breath but it's still a ballgame,” said Ingle.
Then Danville broke it open thanks to wildness from Cardinals' pitchers. A double, single and walk loaded the bases and Chin was hit by a pitch to force in a run. Curcio followed with a walk, and it was 4-0.
Then Sean Godfrey cracked a two-run single to push Danville further ahead. Godfrey went 1 for 5 in the game, seeing his still-robust batting average fall to .438.
Johnson City finally got something started in the bottom of the seventh inning. A runner getting picked off of first base by Braves' catcher Bryan De La Rosa may have limited the damage, but Anthony Ray drove in a run with a single and Oscar Mercado followed with a bases-loaded walk to make it 6-2.
Cardinals manager Johnny Rodriguez said the pickoff didn't change the outcome of the game.
“Those things are going to happen, and that's not the reason we lost,” he said. “We should have been all over their pitcher, but we didn't have good at-bats.”
Andy Ubiera (1-0) set the tone on the mound for the Braves, blanking the Cards in five strong innings of work. Ubiera allowed three hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
“He throws strikes with all of his pitches,” said Ingle. “He's aggressive and lets the defense help him out.”
Luis Monasterio and Chin each had two hits for the Braves.
Anthony Ray, hitting .389 on the season, totaled two hits for the Cardinals.
Matt Pearce (0-1) took the loss on the mound, but allowed just one run in three innings of work. Johnson City relievers walked six batters over the next 3 2/3 innings.
“The pitching wasn't sharp,” said Rodriguez. “They pitched behind and had deep long counts. They didn't throw strikes early in the count.”