There were two chapters to Johnson City’s 8-5 victory over Bluefield on Monday night at Cardinal Park.
Cardinals starter Jose Pasan had a perfect game going through five innings, but he gave up two hits and two tying runs in the top of the sixth.
That meant the second chapter of the game was about Johnson City’s offense, which included David Washington crushing a two-run shot in the seventh inning for the game’s go-ahead runs.
“It felt great,” said Washington who struck out his first three at-bats. “I felt I had some good at-bats, but things didn’t go my way. I just got a good pitch to hit and I put a good swing on it.”
The pitch was a high fastball which Washington sent sailing over the right-field fence. It came right after the inning should have ended for the Blue Jays as the Cards’ Anthony Garcia reached first base on a third-strike wild pitch.
The Appalachian League West Division leading Cardinals (31-16) trailed 5-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh. They answered by scoring three runs prior to Washington’s blast as Bryvic Valera turned a routine single into a hard-charging double to kick off the inning and Tyler Rahmatulla stole home for the game-tying run.
“That’s how we play the game,” Johnson City manager Mike Shildt said. “Earlier in the year, we were down 4-0 and we were down three runs there. That’s what we preach to go play the game right and push. It was a real good effort and I’m really pleased with the way they competed.”
Bluefield (26-21), which came into the night tied with Danville in the East Division standings, took the short-lived lead in the top of the seventh on RBI doubles by Arcila and Carlos Ramirez sandwiched around a sacrifice fly by Javan Williams.
They couldn’t hold on against a Johnson City offense that accounted for 12 hits — seven for extra bases.
Those efforts included two doubles and three runs scored by Matt Williams. The Cardinals’ shortstop bounced back after being hit in the head by a pitch in the seventh to score the Cardinals’ first run of the inning. An inning later, he hit the second double which ended up resulting in the game’s final run.
“That’s a tough kid right there,” Shildt said about Williams. “I can’t say enough about him and the other guys with the way they compete. I couldn’t be more pleased to be their manager.”
Rahmatulla was 3-for-3 at the plate to lead Johnson City, while Williams, Valera and Kolby Byrd all ended 2-for-4.
Tyler Mills (1-1), who pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief, was credited with the victory. Pasan didn’t earn the decision, but was able to impress the Cardinals’ manager with his effort.
“You have to really tip your hat to Pasan,” Shildt said. “He was really cruising through five innings and made quality pitches to a tough lineup. In the sixth, (Daniel) Arcila hit one off the wall to get things going for them. So he gets through six with a tie game and does a real nice job.”
Johnson City begins a three-game series with Bristol tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.