How explosive was Johnson City on Wednesday night at Cardinal Park?
In just two innings, the Cardinals racked up enough hits and runs to win two or maybe three games.
The Cards scored 13 runs in the fifth and sixth innings combined and never really let up, working over the Bristol pitching staff like a washed-up boxer and rolling to a 20-3 victory in a thunderous Appalachian League thumping.
It was a season-high in runs for the Cardinals and the most since a 20-run playoff win over Burlington on Sept. 2, 2010.
Johnson City, which finished with 22 hits, improved to 33-16 and maintained its six-game lead over Elizabethton in the West Division.
“Guys were getting good swings on the ball,” said Johnson City manager Mike Shildt. “There were a lot of positive things. I liked the fact when we got down 3-0 we still competed.”
Anthony Garcia had a night to remember. The Cardinals’ left fielder went 3 for 5 with two homers, five RBIs and scored four runs.
“I felt good at the plate,” said Garcia through a teammate interpreter. “I was looking for good pitches to hit, and I got them.”
Garcia, who is hitting .326 on the season, said his confidence is high and the team is playing well together.
“I’m hitting better and the team is helping me out,” he said. “I’m doing my thing, and doing my work.
“Since the first day of practice, this team has felt confident. We have good teamwork and we trust each other.”
David Washington continued his hot hitting. He went 2 for 4 with a homer and four RBIs.
“I’m just getting good swings on the ball,” said Washington. “It was a lot of fun tonight. This is a great bunch of guys who can hit. There are no easy outs, and it showed tonight.”
Washington has three homers and eight RBIs in his last three games.
Shildt said the Cardinals have plenty of confidence.
“This is a very secure team,” he said. “They don’t give anything away.”
Jesus Montero had a big game as well, totaling four hits and two RBIs. Bryvic Valera added three hits while Tyler Rahmatulla, Gary Apelian and Hector Garcia each had two hits. Roberto De La Cruz had two RBIs, and Jonathan Keener had a pinch-hit two-run homer.
Bristol seemed to be in good shape heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, but the Cardinals exploded. Ronald Castillo got the scoring started with an RBI single, and Rahmatulla added an RBI hit.
Garcia then delivered the real momentum changer with a three-run blast that just cleared the left field wall to make it 5-3. Washington later added an RBI single, and Montero’s second hit of the inning drove in a run. The final run scored on an error.
Johnson City wasn’t done, getting right back in the swing of things in the sixth inning. De La Cruz drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single, and then Washington absolutely crushed one over the right field fence for a three-run homer.
Johnson City added three runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth. Garcia hit a two-run shot in the eighth inning for his second homer of the night, and Keener cracked a two-run bomb later in the inning.
Starting pitcher Tyrell Jenkins couldn’t have been happier with the run support. After he pitched his final inning of the game, he trailed 3-0 — but he walked away with the win to improve to 4-1 on the season.
In five innings, Jenkins allowed six hits and three runs, one earned. He walked one and struck out two.
Nick Gillung pitched three scoreless innings of relief.