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JC Cards rally in front of record crowd of 3,687

Joe Avento • Updated Jul 2, 2018 at 11:37 PM

No lead is safe in the Appalachian League. The Johnson City Cardinals and Greeneville Reds proved that Monday night.

A game that began with a franchise-record 3,687 fans in the stands at TCA Credit Union Ballpark ended more than four hours later when Michael Perri scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Cards battled for a 13-12 victory over the Reds.

NEW RULE

The Reds began the 10th inning with a runner on second base thanks to a new extra-inning rule being tried out in the rookie leagues.

A sacrifice bunt moved Juan Martinez to third, and Cards shortstop Moises Castillo threw him out at the plate after fielding a ground ball.

Johnson City began the bottom of the 10th with Perri on second. Castillo tried to bunt him over to third, but reached on a throwing error. That left the winning run 90 feet from home plate with no outs.

Two pitches later, the ball bounced away from the catcher and Perri slid home with the winning run.

It was a fitting ending, considering the Cardinals scored four runs on what were ruled wild pitches. They scored the final nine runs of the game.

WILD NIGHT

The two teams combined to issue 17 walks and throw nine wild pitches.

EARLY GOING

The Reds did most of their damage in the early going, scoring all 12 of their runs in the first four innings. That forced Johnson City to try to claw back all night.

The Cards hit three home runs and scored twice in the ninth inning to force extra innings.

TAKING ADVANTAGE

The Cards issued seven walks in the first four innings, meaning most of the Reds’ hits came with runners on base. The top three batters in the Greeneville lineup combined to score eight runs.

Zeke White did the most damage with three hits, including a two-run homer in the first inning that got things started. The Reds were up 6-0 after they batted in the third inning.

BACK IN IT

Johnson City scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning, two on a double by Kevin Woodall Jr. and two more on a home run by Dariel Gomez. Gomez, who hit his fourth homer of the season, was the first batter Reds reliever Uarlim German faced.

The comeback was short-lived, however, as the Reds scored six times in the next inning to seemingly break the game open again.

NOT THEIR NIGHT

Johnson City starter Noel De Jesus was his team’s early-season ace until Monday night. De Jesus came into the game with a 2-0 record and a 1.50 ERA. He was pulled in fourth inning and charged with eight runs after allowing five hits and walking four batters.

Making matters worse, two of the hits — both in the second inning — were line drives off of his body.

David Oca relieved De Jesus in the fourth and allowed three runs on four hits and three walks while getting just one out.

Jacob Sylvester stopped the bleeding for the Johnson City pitching staff, working 2 1/3 scoreless innings and holding the Reds to one hit.

Other relievers Juan Alvarez and Parker Kelly combined for four no-hit innings. Kelly (1-0) was the winning pitcher.

MONSTER SHOTS

Leando Cedeno and Nolan Gorman hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning as the Cards continued to fight from behind.

Cedeno’s two-run shot brought Johnson City back to 12-6. It was his fifth homer, and like his prodigious blast over the center field wall last week, it was a no-doubter.

Gorman followed with a solo shot just left of the center field wall, cutting the deficit to 12-7. It was the first-round draft pick’s fourth homer of the season and his third in two games.

INJURED UMPIRE

The game was delayed for almost 15 minutes in the first inning after home plate umpire Adam Pierce was injured when he was drilled with a pitch. Pierce’s left arm had an ugly welt, but he stayed in the game after being wrapped up.

DON’T TAKE YOUR BASE

Greeneville’s Cash Case was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning but wasn’t allowed to take first base. Pierce ruled that Case had leaned into the pitch.

It didn’t bother the Reds. Case promptly lined a two-run triple down the right field line. The ball kicked up chalk when it landed.

EVERY CARD HITS

When Castillo lined a single to right field in the bottom of the sixth, it gave every batter in the Johnson City lineup at least one hit.

Jonatan Machado went 3 for 6 for Johnson City and raised his batting average to .432.

FIREWORKS IN THE WORKS

The two teams meet again at TVA Credit Union Ballpark on Tuesday at 7 p.m. An Independence Day celebration fireworks display will be launched following the game.

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