Yoda jerseys, they wore. A very important game, they lost.
The Bristol Pirates broke a tie by scoring three runs on a late error Saturday night and went on to beat the Cardinals 5-4.
The result left Johnson City clinging to a 1/2-game lead over Bristol in the tight Appalachian League West Division standings with four games to go.
Saturday night’s scores left Kingsport one game behind the Cards and Elizabethton 1 1/2 back. The Appy League postseason begins Friday night with the best-of-three divisional series pitting the top two teams in each division against each other.
With a crowd of 3,135 on hand, the Cardinals simply gave this one away.
THE BIG MISS
Bristol loaded the bases in the eighth inning when Cardinals reliever Walker Robbins appeared to get out of the jam by inducing Jesus Valdez into a fly ball to right field.
Johnson City right fielder Carlos Soler misplayed the ball and his error allowed three runs to score. The ball hit Soler in the glove and popped out while the bases cleared and the Pirates grabbed a 5-2 lead.
IN A PINCH
In the bottom of the inning, Johnson City’s Chandler Redmond blasted a pinch-hit two-run home run to make it 5-4, but the damage had been done. Pirates closer Alex Roth struck out the side in the ninth for his fourth save.
Bristol was ahead 2-0 when the Cardinals rallied to get back to even.
Victor Garcia’s pinch-hit single in the seventh inning scored Aaron Antonini, who had led off with a double. Mateo Gill followed with a two-out RBI single to forge a 2-2 tie.
The Pirates grabbed the early lead in the fourth inning on Daniel Rivero’s RBI single and made it 2-0 on a wild pitch after Valdez reached on a bloop double that fell between three Cardinals and advanced to third on a foul out.
The Cards and Pirates play again Sunday at 5 p.m. It’s the final home game of the regular season for Johnson City and it’s Fan Appreciation Night at TCA Credit Union Ballpark. The first 1,000 fans will receive a voucher for free food.
Johnson City then closes the regular season with a three-game series at Kingsport.