Princeton rolled into town and delivered a 8-3 whipping in an Appalachian League contest that was delayed an hour and 22 minutes prior to the start because of heavy rains earlier in the day.
The Twins (18-15) saw their lead shrink to 1 1/2 games over second-place Johnson City in the West Division.
These teams meet again Wednesday with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.
Venezuelan right-gander Christian Fernandez posted a dominant five-inning performance. He retired the first 12 batters he faced before Parker Phillips led off the fifth inning with a double.
Fernandez responded by striking out the next three batters. His night was over, allowing one hit in five innings with eight strikeouts. He threw 45 of his 67 pitches for strikes.
Aldor Rodriguez closed it out with four innings of relief. He struggled to get the final out, allowing three runs before closing the game with a strikeout, but earned his second save of the season.
Elizabethton finally got on the board in the bottom of the ninth. Seth Gray drew a two-out walk, and Phillips followed with a two-run homer over the right field fence.
The Twins weren’t done as Max Smith hit a line-drive homer that cleared the right field fence.
Princeton jumped ahead from the get-go, getting a first-inning RBI single from Diego Infante.
In the fourth inning, the Rays stole a run. Ginoti Turner swiped second base with Jake Guenther on third base. When the throw went through in an attempt to get Turner, Guenther broke for the plate and scored without a throw.
Guenther made it 3-0 with an RBI double in the sixth inning. Turner followed with an RBI single to make it a four-run advantage.
Princeton tacked on a trio of runs in the eighth inning, two of them courtesy of Guenther’s high-flying home run off the Twins’ new clubhouse behind the right field fence. Kevin Melendez made it 7-0 with an RBI double.
In the ninth inning, Princeton got a run on Nick Schnell’s RBI groundout.
AT THE DISH
Guenther had a standout evening for the Rays. The left-handed hitter out of Texas Christian University went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and scored three times.
Leadoff man Brett Wisely added a pair of hits. Turner finished with two hits and two stolen bases.