Theme music from the “Benny Hill Show” blared during the dizzy-bat race promotion between innings Monday night at Cardinal Park.
It would’ve played well with the Burlington Royals fielders, too.
The Royals made six errors, dropped three pop-ups and saw first baseman Murray Watts inexplicably step off the bag prematurely before recording a put-out — all which was just enough for the Johnson City Cardinals to overcome leaving 10 runners on base in a 5-4 victory.
Johnson City (44-23), which will travel to Danville on Wednesday for its playoff opener, concluded the scoring with a run in the seventh. First baseman David Washington led off the inning with a double, and scored on third baseman Hector Garcia’s one-out double.
Left-hander Matt Rein (2-1) struck out four in two innings of scoreless relief for the victory. Heath Wyatt pitched the ninth for his eighth save after Logan Billbrough worked a scoreless eighth.
“That was a nice job by those guys (Washington and Garcia) to put us ahead,” Johnson City manager Mike Shildt said, “and then Billbrough and Wyatt came in and shut the door.”
Johnson City scored two runs to take a 4-3 lead thanks to three errors in the fifth. Cam Conner tied the score at 4 when he led off the sixth with a home run.
Jorge Bonifacio also homered for Burlington. His two-out, two-run home run gave the Royals a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Johnson City scored a run in the first. Matt Williams singled, stole second and scored on Gary Apelian’s two-out single. Bryvic Valera’s two-out single scored catcher Jesus Montero to tie the score at 2 in the bottom of the fourth.
The Cardinals weren’t razor sharp. They stranded eight runners in scoring position, hit three batters and had a wild pitch and a passed ball.
But they didn’t commit an error, executed two bunt singles and threw three runners out on the bases, including a strikeout-caught stealing double play to end the second.
Burlington leadoff batter Lane Adams made the first out of the game by getting thrown out at home plate by Valera in left field after Justin Trapp’s single.
“That’s an aggressive base-running team,” Shildt said. “All we need is one more run at the end of the game. I don’t care how it happens.”
Valera and center fielder Charlie Tilson had the Cardinals’ bunt singles. Tilson, a recent call-up, went 3-for-4 with a double.
“He’s done a nice job for us,” Shildt said. “He’s a high-energy guy that likes to play, likes to compete and he’s aggressive — all the things we want in a player.”
Garcia and Montero were each 2-for-4.
Shildt said Tilson gives Steven Ramos a chance to rest, and that Ramos will be in the lineup tonight when the Royals (24-43) and Cardinals conclude the regular season.