Leadoff hitter Terry Fuller blasted his first home run of the season in the fifth inning and it was of the two-run variety. He finished the night going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and walks. He also scored twice and had a stolen base.
The pitching for Johnson City (12-8) was superb until the ninth when Aaron Shackleford hit a two-run bomb of his own to nearly the same spot over the left field wall as Fuller’s. He was the only Bristol hitter with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with one run scored.
“Our pitching was great. It was a good job by our pitching coach. He had a plan and the guys were executing,” Johnson City manager Roberto Espinoza said.
Cards starter Dalton Roach got his first win of the season, going six strong innings and not giving up a run on just three hits. He struck out four.
Bristol (11-10) pitcher Yoelvis Reyes suffered something out of “Heartbreak Hotel” getting the loss with two innings pitched and giving up six earned runs on seven hits.
The Bristol pitching staff gave up seven walks in the game and five of the them came in the seventh when Johnson City hung three runs on the board.
“That’s all in our preparation. The way that these guys are getting prepared and that’s thanks to our hitting coach Brian,” Espinoza said. “These guys are ready to compete and they show it in the game.”
Even though the Cardinals did have plenty of offense, they could have had more as they left 10 runners stranded and were just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
The Pirates have not been great at home, mustering just a 4-7 record. They have been hot as of late, having a recent tear winning 10-of-12. This defeat for Bristol now makes them losers of consecutive games and drops them to third place in the Appalachian League West Division.
The Cardinals maintained a half-game lead over Elizabethton.
The Cardinals and Pirates will go again on Thursday at Boyce Cox Field with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.