The teams entered Monday’s game going in opposite directions. Johnson City had lost three straight game and the Twins had won four in a row, vaulting into a first-place tie with Bristol.
Sabino’s single up the middle that scored Kyle Skeels from second base changed that.
Along with a Bristol loss to Pulaski, the Cardinals (11-8) moved to a half-game lead over both the Twins (11-9) and Pirates (11-9).
Skeels led off the ninth inning with a high flyball to shallow center field that slipped passed the glove of Elizabethton’s Willie Joe Garry Jr. for a double.
The Cardinals had come from behind twice in the game and tied it in the eighth with a solo home run from Chandler Redmond.
Dylan Pearce got the win for Johnson City — his first of the season — pitching a scoreless ninth and striking out two of the batters he faced.
Dylan Thomas was tagged with the loss for Elizabethton and Frandy Torres blew the save after giving up the game-tying homer in the eighth.
The Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of first thanks to three hits.
Spencer Steer led off the game with a walk and then Anthony Prato singled on a chopper into right field. Steer moved all the way to third and the Twins were in business with no one out.
Albee Weiss batted in Steer on a sacrifice fly to right two batters later and then Matt Wallner scored Prato with double.
Johnson City starter Julio Puello was in a hole early.
KYLE HAS “SKEELS”
Johnson City first baseman Skeels hit a towering two-run home run in the bottom of the third over the scoreboard in left field to knot it up.
Todd Lott scored after he reached on an Elizabethton throwing error.
The Cardinals were able to muster one more hit in the frame, but could not produce anymore runs. Terry Fuller was caught stealing to end the inning.
VILLALOBOS COMES THROUGH
In the top of the sixth, the Twins were able to retake the lead 3-2 when Janigson Villalobos singled on a grounder up the middle that plated Wallner from second.
After Weiss struck out to lead off the inning, the E-Twins hit three straight singles by Wallner, Trevor Jensen and Villalobos.
Elizabethton’s score came on the heels of Johnson City leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth. Twins starter Ryley Widell had been pitching well, but walked two of the first four batters in the frame and allowed a single to load the bases.
After a pitching change in favor of Steven Cruz, Trejyn Fletcher struck out for the Cards and then Mateo Gil grounded to shortstop for the force at second.
After the league takes an off day Tuesday for the Major League All-Star Game, the Twins will have a seven-game homestand beginning with Burlington on Wednesday. The Cardinals will be on the road for the next seven games with the first trip being a three-game set with Bristol.