The Mets lost 9-5 to the Burlington Royals, who scored five runs in the top of the sixth inning to blow open a close game at Hunter Wright Stadium. But a couple of hours later, the Mets clinched the Appalachian League baseball wild-card playoff berth after Bristol lost to division-leader Elizabethton.
Kingsport dropped to 32-33, but maintained a three-game lead over Bristol in the West Division standings with just three games left. The Mets hold the head-to-head advantage against the Pirates.
The Royals, at 24-41 long eliminated from the playoff race, have been the hottest team in the league over the past week. They earned the series sweep and have six of their last seven game.
Going into the sixth, the Royals held a two-run lead, but two errors and a wild pitch by the Mets, coupled with Eric Cole’s two-run single and a RBI single by Freddy Fermin put Burlington in charge.
Burlington held a 4-0 lead before Kingsport responded in the bottom of the fifth inning. Domingo Martinez started off the frame with a double and later scored on Raul Beracierta’s RBI ground out.
The Mets added a second run in the fifth with a RBI single by Guillermo Granadillo. After the onslaught by Burlington in the sixth, Beracierta hit a triple to center field to drive in Ronny Mauricio to cut it to a 9-3 lead.
Kingsport added a couple of runs in the bottom of the ninth to make the score more respectable.
Martinez took a bases-loaded walk and Mauricio hit into a force out, which scored Granadillo. Overall, the Mets had seven hits with Granadillo and Ranfy Adon each going 2-for-4.
Matt Cleveland (1-4) suffered the loss, giving up nine hits and tagged with seven runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Allan Winans threw 1 2/3 innings for the Mets and Luis Silva pitched two shutout innings.
Marcelo Martinez (5-3) got the win for Burlington, striking out six and giving up just one walk. He gave up six hits and three runs.