ELIZABETHTON — Kingsport pitchers Yoryi Nuez and Martires Arias combined on a four-hit shutout and the Mets offense accounted for 19 hits in a 12-0 victory over Elizabethton on Friday night at Joe O’Brien Field.
Nuez, a 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic, was credited with the victory after giving up two hits over the first five innings. His countryman Arias, a lanky 6-foot-7 right-hander followed up by giving up two hits and no walks over the next four.
“It was great to see Yoryi making adjustments,” Kingsport manager Jose Leger said. “He struggled with command a little bit, but with runners on base, he was able to make adjustments with a good fastball and change-up.”
That was apparent to the Twins (14-8), who were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Despite the blowout loss, Elizabethton still holds a 2 1/2 game lead over Johnson City in Appalachian League West Division standings after the Cardinals lost 8-3 to Greeneville.
“We’ve been having pretty good success lately turning the ball over to the pen,” Elizabethton manager Ray Smith said. “They’ve been able to shut down the opposition and give our bats a chance to come around. That wasn’t the case tonight. Our bats never came around anyway.
“It will be interesting to see how we respond after getting wiped out tonight. All the teams are going to go through peaks and valleys. You try to maintain that consistency. At this level, it’s hard because they’re young and trying to learn.”
The Mets improved to 10-12, four games behind the Twins.
Pedro Perez led the productive Kingsport offense by going 4-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Eudor Garcia ended 3-for-5, while Luis Gillorme and Jean Carlos Rodriguez also finished with three hits each.
“Rodriguez has been swinging the bat good and he had a good game tonight,” Leger said. “Overall, the guys battled on every at-bat. There were a lot of bloop singles and hits in the infield. That’s what you have to do as a hitter sometimes.”
The Mets struck early with two runs in the top of the first.
Garcia had a RBI double to score Rodriguez and Perez lated added a RBI single to center field.
Elizabethton missed a chance to close the gap in the bottom of the first after stranding Jonaton Hinojosa at third base and Max Murphy at second.
After Kingsport missed an opportunity to build on the lead in the top of the third with bases loaded, Elizabethton did the same in the bottom frame. Tyler Kuresa flew out to center field on an apparent sacrifice fly, but home plate umpire Ben Sonntag ruled that runner Jeremiah Pineda left early, taking a run off the board.
After that play was ruled a double play, Trey Vavra struck out, ending the scoring threat.
The Mets added to their advantage with Ivan Wilson’s RBI single in the sixth, and effectively put the game away in the top of the seventh. Rodriquez had his first triple of the season to plate the first run. An infield single by Oswald Caraballo and two Elizabethton errors gave the Mets a commanding 6-0 lead.
Perez added a two-run double in the ninth inning. By the time the inning was over, the Mets added four more runs and were up by a dozen.
Varva and Hinojosa both finished 2-for-4 to lead the Twins offensively. Felix Jorge (2-1) suffered the loss after giving up eight hits and three earned runs over 5 2/3 innings.
Elizabethton begins a stretch of six games on the road starting with a three-game series at Danville today. Kingsport heads to Bristol for a three-game series against the Pirates.