The Kingsport Mets enjoyed their best offensive performance of the 2012 Appalachian League season Wednesday, pounding out 14 runs on 19 hits - both season highs in a 14-4 rout of the Johnson City Cardinals.
The K-Mets (18-33) got four-hit performances from Maikis De La Cruz and Jorge Rivero, and rolled to their second win in three games. The result also had ramifications on the Appy playoff picture, as it pushed Johnson City one game behind the Greeneville Astros in the battle for the West Division's second postseason spot.
The K-Met lineup fired on all cylinders. A six-spot in the fourth inning staked Kingsport to a 9-1 lead and, with five innings to go, the Mets already had matched their second-highest run total of the season. The K-Mets ensured it'd be their best offensive game of the season in the late innings, surpassing a 13-9 win over the Bluefield Blue Jays back in the first weeks of the Appy campaign.
De La Cruz finished a home run shy of the cycle, doubling twice and adding a triple when Johnson City's left fielder came up empty on an attempted diving catch. He drove in four runs. Rivero drove in three RBIs with a double.
The bottom of the order set the table all night long. Anthony Chavez, the eighth-hole hitter, reached base on all five of his trips to the plate, scored four runs and had three hits. Branden Kaupe, batting in the No. 9 spot, had three runs scored on two singles and a walk.
Yeixon Ruiz, the leadoff hitter, benefited from their success getting on base. He tallied three RBIs as part of a three-hit night.
That run support was more than enough for K-Mets starter John Gant (3-2), who put together arguably his best start of the season: one unearned run on six hits and two walks in six innings of work. The Cardinals touched up Martires Arias on a two-out, three-run rally cued by Trevor Martin's solo home run but, after doing that damage, still trailed 13-4 entering the middle of the eighth.
These two teams conclude their four-game series tonight at Hunter Wright Stadium in what also marks the final head-to-head meeting between the two West Division teams.
NOTES: Gavin Cecchini, the Mets' firsrt-round draft pick, remained in the lineup as the designated hitter. He didn't get a hit, but did drive in a pair of runs. ... Eight of the nine batters in Kingsport's starting lineup either got a hit or scored a run. Kevin Weijgertse, who replaced Cecchini as the designated hitter in the late innings, singled and scored in one of his two at-bats. ... Juan Bautista (2-4) took the loss, surrendering seven runs-six earned-on seven hits.