As it turned out, that would’ve been just fine with the Mets.
The Cardinals blasted a pair of two-run homers in the first inning, and then they closed out the competitive portion of their contest in the third by pushing nine runs across the plate. While there is no mercy rule in the Appy League, the steady rain that soaked the ballpark for most of the night finally ended the contest after six innings with Johnson City leading 16-1.
For the third game in a row, the Cards (23-22) managed to score in their first at-bat. Wadye Ynfante got things started with his seventh home run of the season, which brought home Delvin Perez to make the score 2-0. Brady Whalen followed with a two-run shot of his own to double Johnson City’s advantage.
Kingsport (18-26) struck back with a run in the top of the third when Dionis Paulino blasted a two-out RBI double to deep centerfield, but the Cards wasted no time putting the game away. Johnson City plated all nine of its runs in the third inning with two outs on the board, chasing Kingsport starter Ronald Sanchez (0-3) in the process.
The Cards sent 12 batters to the plate in the third. After Jonathan Rivera and Irving Lopez got things going with RBI singles, things snowballed in a hurry. Julio Rodriguez and Luis Bandes each connected on a two-run double before Whalen hit another two-run homer — his second of the night — to extend Johnson City’s lead to 13-1.
If that wasn’t enough, the Cards plated three more runs in the fourth to leave no doubt. Lopez hit a two-run single and later scored on a groundout to round out the scoring for Johnson City.
But the win may have come at a cost for the Cardinals. Delvin Perez was hit by a pitch in the second inning, and after being attended to by the team trainer, he exited the game. Rivera gave the home crowd a scare in the top of the second when he crashed hard into the wall to make a catch that saved two runs. But after laying on the warning track for a few moments, he was able to jog back into the dugout and remained in the game.
Ynfante finished the night 4-for-4 with three RBIs. Lopez had three hits and drove home three runs while Whalen drove in four runs. Five players had multi-hit games for the Cards, who finished with 16 hits in six innings.
Franyel Casadilla had a solid start, but came up one out shy of earning the win. He allowed one run on three hits in 4 2-3 innings of work. He struck out five batters and issued two walks. Juan Alvarez (1-2) came on in relief and took the victory.
The Mets and Cards will wrap up their three-game series on Tuesday night, which is Johnson City Press Night at TVA Credit Union Ballpark. The first pitch is scheduled for 7.