The Cardinals led 2-1 for most of the game until the Pirates had a big sixth inning that was ultimately the dagger.
The win was just the second in seven games for the Pirates.
Cards first-round draftee Nolan Gorman went 2-for-4 with a solo home run to right field, giving him a league-leading six homers on the season. The third baseman has five home runs in as many games.
Bristol’s Chase Lambert went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and RBIs.
PIRATES DRAW FIRST BLOOD
The Pirates (8-8) got the first run of the game in the bottom half of the first on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from Brandt Citta to center field.
Jonah Davis scored on the play after Bristol started off the inning with three straight singles.
The Cards (7-8) were able to get out of the inning without any further damage thanks to two groundouts to second baseman Donivan Williams.
CARDINALS FIRE BACK
The second inning started off well for Johnson City as Gorman reached on a single and Carlos Soto Jr. drew a walk to quickly get two runners on base.
However, both would be out on the next play as Williams hit the ball directly to the third baseman, who tagged Gorman going to third, and Soto Jr. was forced out at second.
Williams would later score from second when Pirates second baseman Chase Lambert had an error that cost Bristol the lead.
The Cards added another run in the third when Jonatan Machado scored from second on a double by Kevin Woodall Jr. to deep right field.
After three frames, Johnson City had seized a 2-1 lead.
BRISTOL BATTLES BACK
The Pirates were still trailing by one run going into the sixth inning, but the bats came alive in the home half, and Bristol benefited from some bad fielding by the Cards.
Sherten Apostel got an RBI when he doubled down the left field line to score Mason Martin from second.
Lambert came to the plate next with runners on second and third and one out. He hit what looked like a routine fly ball to right field, but JC’s Woodall lost it in the low lights and the ball got down for a two-run double.
Bristol exited the sixth inning with a 4-2 lead, and the Johnson City offense had been quiet since the second inning despite recording a hit in each inning.
The Cards went three up and three down in the top of the seventh.
BIG FLIES ABUNDANT
Jonah Davis led off the bottom of the seventh for Bristol with a home run to the short right field porch. The big fly tied Davis for the Appalachian League lead with five homers on the early season.
Gorman countered in the eighth with a homer to right to retake the Appy League lead. He hit a homer to almost the exact same spot on Wednesday afternoon in the win for Johnson City.
The Cardinals will wrap up the series with Bristol on Friday with first pitch slated for 7 p.m.