Will Guay continued a monthlong scoreless pitching streak and Raffy Ozuna and Trejyn Fletcher hit home runs as the Cardinals held on to defeat the Princeton Rays 6-4 Tuesday night at TVA Credit Union Ballpark.
The Cardinals (28-25) ended a three-game losing streak and regained sole possession of first place in the Appalachian League West Division. They entered the day tied with Elizabethton, which lost 1-0 to Pulaski.
Where there’s a Will there’s a Guay.
Guay, usually a reliever, made his second start for the Cards a successful one. The righty worked three scoreless innings, bringing his streak of appearances without allowing a run to eight games. He hasn’t given up a run since July 11, covering 15 2/3 innings.
Guay worked out of trouble twice, getting key outs with runners on second and third. He didn’t figure in the decision since he didn’t go five innings.
JUMPING OUT EARLY
Johnson City scored in each of the first five innings and led 5-0 before the Rays got on the board.
Mateo Gill and Malcolm Nunez started things with back-to-back doubles to lead off the first inning,
Ozuna’s solo home run in the second inning made it 2-0 and the Cards were on their way.
Through three innings, they had four doubles and a home run among their seven hits off of Princeton starter Aldor Rodriguez, who went three innings and fell to 0-4.
CUTTING IT CLOSE
Princeton scored its first run on a throwing error from Gill, the Cards shortstop, in the fifth inning. The next batter, Diego Infante, belted a two-run home run off of John Witkowski to make it 5-3. It was Infante’s 11th home run of the season.
Fletcher’s solo shot in the fifth put the Cards up 6-3.
Rain began during the seventh-inning stretch and really started to come down in the bottom of the eighth. When Princeton’s Angel Felipe had a fastball slip and whiz near Ozuna’s head, the umpires called the players off the field.
After a delay of 12 minutes, the game resumed and Johnson City’s fifth pitcher, Enrigue Perez, pitched a perfect ninth for his fist save.
Witkowski (3-0) earned the victory.
NUNEZ FLASHES LEATHER
Nunez, Johnson City’s leading hitter, did more work with his glove Tuesday. The 18-year-old third baseman from Cuba made a diving stop of a hot smash and threw out a runner from his knees. Later, he leapt to snag a line drive.
RAYS BIG MAN
Vincent Byrd was Princeton’s second pitcher of the night. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Byrd is in his first season as a pitcher. He hit .265 with 11 home runs in two seasons as a first baseman before being converted.
The Cards have off on Wednesday before returning to action Thursday when they begin a three-game series at Burlington. It’s the start of a seven-game road trip.