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Cardinals lose, stay atop West Division standings

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Aug 11, 2019 at 9:04 PM

Johnson City maintained its one-game lead in the Appalachian League West Division standings Sunday evening at TVA Credit Union Ballpark.

It wasn’t the result of the Cardinals’ play on the field. Giving up four runs in the sixth inning, the Cardinals lost 7-3 to the Princeton Rays.

The Cardinals (27-24) were able to stay ahead of rival Elizabethton, however, because the Twins lost 7-4 to Pulaski. While Princeton’s overall record is 24-27, the Rays remain out of the East Division pennant race.

PUELLO IS PULLED

Johnson City starter Julio Puello was tagged with the loss after a rough outing where he gave up seven hits and six runs over five innings. He had two strikeouts, although the 20-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic did give up just one walk.

Tyler Peck gave up another run over the next two innings, while Dylan Pearce closed out the final two innings.

Taj Bradley struck out six and gave up two runs over 4 1/3 innings for Princeton in a no-decision. Bryan Herrera (1-2) had six strikeouts over the next 3 2/3 innings and Mitchell Walters came in to close as the Rays pitchers recorded 14 strikeouts overall.

MANUFACTURING RUNS

Princeton took the lead when Aldenis Sanchez stole third base. An errant throw by Johnson City catcher Aaron Antonini allowed Sanchez to come home for the game’s first run.

The Rays added more sting on Nate Soria’s solo home run in the second for a 2-0 lead.

Johnson City tied it up with runs in the third and fifth inning.

An RBI double by Malcom Nunez scored Mateo Gil to get the Cardinals on the scoreboard. Gil had a single in the fifth to score Ben Baird with the tying run.

However, they left runners stranded on second and third bases, and it was the next frame when the Rays gave them a devil of a time plating four runs.

Ginoti Turner highlighted the inning with a two-run single and followed with an RBI single in the seventh as Princeton built a 7-2 lead.

Trejyn Fletcher’s RBI ground out to score Antonini gave the Cardinals a run in the eighth, but they again left runners stranded. For the game, Johnson City left 12 runners on base.

Nunez went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Cardinals, which had eight hits overall.

The teams are scheduled to meet again Monday at 6:30 p.m. Jake Sommers (2-2) is slated to get the start for Johnson City.

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