The Cardinals fell 7-4 and lost a crucial series to the Pirates, who now move into third place in the West Division.
After Bristol deadlocked the game 3-3 in the top of the fifth, neither team could break through, trading three-up and three-down innings.
The Pirates started off the ninth with a Francisco Acura single, and he later scored on Chris Murray’s two-run single with one out. The woes immediately continued for the Cardinals, as Matt Morrow hit a blooper to shallow left near the foul line. The shortstop, left fielder and third baseman all converged on the ball and it somehow dropped between them all.
Along with an airmailed throw from catcher Kyle Skeels earlier in the inning, it looked like Bristol (14-16) had put the game away with those four runs.
A CHANCE IN THE NINTH
The Cards have been known for ridiculous comebacks this season, but Friday’s game did not add to that story.
Chandler Redmond, who hit a solo home run back in the first inning, walked to start a rally for Johnson City. The next batter was Skeels and he was able to get on with a single. Redmond managed to score when Zach Jackson hit a shot to left field off the wall for an RBI double.
Skeels was tagged out trying to stretch it from third to first on a pinpoint throw from left field. It looked like Bristol third baseman Aaron Shackleford missed the tag, but the Redbirds’ runner was called out nonetheless.
Victor Garcia got hit by a pitch on the next at-bat, sending the tying run to the batter’s box.
However, Bristol pitcher Matt Eardensohn was able to induce a fly out to center and grounder to first to finish off Johnson City (15-14).
On a fireworks night at TVA Credit Union Ballpark, the offense started early for Johnson City. Jhon Torres led off the game with his fourth home run of the season for the Cardinals.
Two batters later, Redmond hit his blast and admired it as he strolled around the bases. The next time he came to the plate — in the fourth — Bristol starter Tahnaj Thomas intentionally plunked Redmond and was immediately ejected from the game by home plate umpire Lane Culipher.
After losing the previous five contests, Bristol travels back to its home at Boyce Cox Field on a two-game winning streak and will face Kingsport on Saturday.
The Cardinals have a three-game homestand beginning Saturday against Danville with “Margaritaville Night.” Both games are slated to begin at 6:30.