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Cardinals fall to Pirates, out of first place

Jeff Birchfield • Aug 25, 2019 at 9:57 PM

Johnson City blew an early lead against the Bristol Pirates on Sunday and in the process lost their lead in the Appalachian League West Division standings.

The Pirates rallied from a four-run deficit to take a 10-8 victory over the Cardinals at TVA Credit Union Ballpark. Bristol (33-31) pulled to a half-game lead over the Cardinals in the West Division standings.

Johnson City (33-32) is tied with Kingsport for the wild-card spot with the teams starting a three-game series Monday to end the regular season.

Mateo Gil and Chandler Redmond had solo home runs in the first inning, and Gil added a two-run double in the second inning for a 4-0 lead.

Bristol responded with five runs in the third to pull ahead and added three more in the fourth for an 8-4 advantage.

In the back-and-forth battle, Gil had his fourth RBI of the game in the sixth, while he and Kevin Vargas scored off wild pitches.

Todd Lott bashed a solo home run over left center field for the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh.

It wasn’t enough, as Bristol plated the final couple of runs on a Josh Bissonette single and a Jesus Valdez sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth.

The Cardinals had the tying runs on base and the winning run at the plate in the final inning. Malcom Nunez, pinch hitting for Zach Jackson, hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

Francisco Justo gave up seven runs and six hits over 3 2/3 innings. John Witkowski hurled the next 1 1/3 innings before Tyler Peck (2-3) was tagged with the loss, giving up two runs over 2 1/3 innings.

Yordi Rosario (3-0) got the win, throwing four strikeouts over 2 1/3 innings. Samson Abernathy came in to close out the ninth for his seventh save.

Vargas was 3-for-3 with a double, while Gil’s final numbers were 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Redmond and Lott also had two hits, as both teams ended with 11 hits.

NEXT UP

Johnson City starts its series with Kingsport on Monday at 6:30 p.m. Bristol will host Danville in a three-game series to end its regular season.

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