Hanging tough for seven innings isn't good enough in professional baseball.
Pulaski broke open a tie game with a five-run eighth inning, and eventually earned an 8-4 victory over the Cardinals in an Appalachian League baseball game Wednesday night at Cardinal Park.
“The approach was there, and it was a good energy game, but the back end of the relievers did not do a good job,” said Johnson City manager Johnny Rodriguez.
The Cardinals fell to 12-13 on the season and remained in second place in the West Division. Johnson City will play host to Pulaski (14-12) again tonight at 7 o'clock.
The Mariners, who finished with 14 hits, broke the tie on Yordi Calderon's clutch hit. His line-drive RBI single sped through a drawn-in infield to give Pulaski a 4-3 lead.
Jay Baum followed a looping RBI single, and another run was plated by a wild pitch. Gianfranco Wawoe capped the big inning with a two-run line drive single to right field.
Kevin Carlow (0-3) was charged with the loss, allowing four hits and five earned runs in one-third of an inning.
The Cardinals loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning with one out, but could only manage one run on Oscar Mercado's sacrifice fly.
“We had our chances,” said Rodriguez.
Pulaski became the first team to really get to Cardinals' ace Ian McKinney this season. The Mariners struck early with Estarlyn Morales' RBI double in the top of the first inning, but Carlton Tarnabe was nailed at home plate thanks a superb relay from Cole Lankford to Mercado to catcher Jose Godoy.
McKinney, who entered the game with an ERA of 0.36, allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings. He gave up eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
“McKinney wasn't on,” said Rodriguez. “His stuff wasn't there. I could see it in the first inning. But he competed and gave us five innings.”
Johnson City evened the game with Casey Grayson's RBI double down the left field line in the bottom of the first.
The Cardinals jumped ahead on Jesus Ustariz's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second inning.
In the top of the fourth inning, Pulaski got a triple from Morales. He eventually scored on a wild pitch by McKinney. The Mariners took the lead in the top of the fifth with Wayne Taylor's infield RBI hit.
Johnson City got even in the bottom of the fifth as Casey Turgeon scored on third baseman Jay Baum's two-out fielding error.
Five Pulaski players finished with two hits apiece: Wawoe, Taylor, Morales, Calderon and Baum. Wawoe had two RBIs.
Johnson City got two hits each from Cole Lankford and Jose Godoy.