Delvin Capellan kept the Johnson City Cardinals’ bats quiet at the start and his bullpen finished it off as the Burlington Royals delivered a 13-0 victory Monday night at TCA Credit Union Ballpark.
It was the first meeting between the two teams this season and a potential Appalachian League championship series matchup. The Cardinals (25-20) lead the West Division by two games, while the Royals (26-20) are in second place in the East.
It’s the first time Johnson City has lost back-to-back games since July 20 and 21 against Danville.
Capellan (3-1) worked around a leadoff double to Mateo Gill and pitched five scoreless innings. He held Johnson City to three hits and struck out six batters while walking none. He certainly didn’t look like a pitcher who brought a 6.68 ERA into the game.
The Cardinals committed five errors while being shut out for the third time this season.
Michael Massey put the Royals on top with a three-run home run in the third inning. Cardinals starter Luis Ortiz (0-2) got his first seven outs on the ground before he gave up a single to Maikel Garcia. Massey then smacked a 3-1 pitch over the wall in left-center field.
Burlington added a third run on William Hancock’s fourth-inning double.
PUTTING IT AWAY
Former Auburn pitcher Elliott Anderson relieved Capellan in the sixth and the Cards put together a brief two-out rally with a walk and a hit. But with runners on second and third, Trejyn Fletcher struck out.
Burlington tacked on another run with two outs in the seventh when Kevin Vargas failed to field a routine ground ball at second base and Chandler Redmond couldn’t come up with a tricky hop. The two errors put the Royals up 4-0.
A sacrifice fly by Garcia and a run-scoring double from Massey in the eighth inning made it 6-0 before Logan Porter’s two-run inside-the-park home run sealed the deal.
Porter belted a towering blast that hit high on the wall in center field. The ball caromed off the angled wall and bounced away from Fletcher, the Cards’ center fielder. As Porter neared third base in a full sprint, he was given the green light. He slid home safely to put his team on top 8-0.
A five-run ninth off of Johnson City reliever Alex Gallegos finished off the blowout. Kevon Jackson and Burle Dixon drove in runs with singles, Jack Gethings added a sacrifice fly and Porter drove in the final two with a double.
Dale Ford, a retired Major League umpire and former member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, called the game behind the plate.
The two teams will continue with the middle game of the series Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. It’s Tacos and Tallboys night.