With the loss on a warm August evening, the Cardinals’ lead in the Appalachian League West Division standings evaporated.
Combined with rival Elizabethton’s 4-2 win over Pulaski, the teams are now tied (27-25) atop the West Division. The Rays improved to 25-27, nine games back in the East Division.
After the Rays scored a run in each of the first two innings, Brett Wisely followed with a two-run home run over right field for a 4-0 lead.
Johnson City’s Diomedes Del Rio swatted a solo home run over right field in the bottom of the third. The Cardinals closed the margin to 4-2 an inning later when Victor Garcia singled to right field and Todd Lott, running from second base, beat the tag of Rays catcher Kevin Melendez at home.
The Cardinals’ William Jimenez led off the eighth inning with a double, but the Rays fielded three hard hit balls in the infield to end the scoring threat.
Two of Johnson City’s outs in the ninth were also hard hit ground balls, but Princeton was able to come up the needed defensive plays.
SOMMERS TIME BLUES
Johnson City starter Jake Sommers (2-3) struck out five, but was tagged for five hits and four runs in five innings. Blake Drake came in to throw two no-hit innings, giving up just one walk. Francisco Justo gave up one hit and two walks over two innings of work.
Jose Lopez had eight strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings for Princeton. He allowed three hits and two runs. Brayden Theriot (5-1) was credited with the victory, throwing 2 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball. Trevor Bridgen, a 6-foot-3 right hander out of Canada, picked up his first save of the season.
He gave up just the double to Jimenez as the Cardinals’ overall numbers included four hits and going just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Failing to get many on base, the Cardinals left just five stranded for the game.
Six different players had hits for the Rays.
The Cardinals will try to avoid the three-game series sweep with Tuesday’s game at 6:30 p.m. It’s Taco Tuesday night featuring $2 tacos and tallboys.