Cardinals first team to solve Twins' Moran

Douglas Fritz • Updated Aug 22, 2017 at 10:19 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Jovani Moran had not allowed a run all season, but the Elizabethton relief pitcher saw his 21 shutout innings come crashing to a halt in the eighth inning.

Johnson City's Imeldo Diaz solved the Puerto Rico native, cranking a two-run go-ahead homer. The blast over the right-center field fence helped the Cardinals earn an important 4-3 win over the Twins on Tuesday night at Joe O'Brien Field.

The Cards (32-26) pulled within 2 1/2 games of first-place Elizabethton (35-24) in the West Division as the Appalachian League season entered single digits in the number of remaining dates on the schedule.

Trailing 2-1 with one out in the eighth inning, Johnson City's Luis Bandes reached on Andrew Bechtold's fielding error. That brought Diaz to the plate, and he connected with full force.

"I knew what type of pitcher he was," said Diaz through an interpreter. "When I was with Boston, we played a lot against the Twins. I kind of studied him a little bit and had a plan. And it actually worked out."

Diaz said he was just trying to help the team.

"I was trying to move the runner over, hit it in the hole, or whatever," said Diaz. "Fortunately I hit that one over the wall."

Only one of the two runs was earned, and Moran's season ERA rose slightly to 0.42.

It was Diaz's fourth homer of the season.

Thomas St. Clair (2-1) got the win in relief. Brett Seeburger pitched 1 1/3 lock-down innings to earn his second save.

Taking the lead

Elizabethton erased a 2-1 deficit with a pair of sixth-inning runs. Bechtold got the party started with an RBI double to tie the game. Mark Contreras put the Twins ahead with an RBI single.

Wild start

Johnson City took the first lead, thanks in part to some Twins' wildness in the top of the second inning. A pair of singles put runners on first and third, and Carlos Talavera eventually scored on a wild pitch from Edwar Colina. Another wild pitch moved Irving Lopez to third, and he scored on Julio Rodriguez's ground-ball single to make it 2-0.

Elizabethton cashed in on the wildness when Evan Guillory uncorked a wild pitch to move Akil Baddoo to third base in the bottom of second. Baddoo eventually scored on Kolton Kendrick's one-out sacrifice fly.

Still strong

It was another quality start for Guillory. He worked five innings, allowing five hits and one run. It was the fifth straight game where he has allowed one run or less. His season ERA improved to 2.82, but he did not factor in the decision.

Relief help

Colina turned in a lengthy performance in relief. He entered in the second inning and worked 5 2/3 innings. He threw 93 pitches while allowing six hits and two runs.

Cards superlatives

Lopez finished with two hits in three at-bats, improving his season average to .311. Diaz also had two hits.

Twins standouts

Contreras, Andrew Cosgrove and Wander Javier each had two hits for Elizabethton. Javier is hitting .309 on the season.

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