Greeneville, TN - The Greeneville Astros (23-12) have been extremely successful in close contests this season, however, the Pulaski Mariners (21-13) had the edge on Saturday at Pioneer Park. After falling 5-4 in the completion of the suspended game from Friday, the Astros were defeated 2-1 in the regularly scheduled game that ensued.
Heading into their series with the Mariners, the Astros had been 10-1 in one-run games. Despite the losses, the Astros still hold the best record in the Appalachian League and have a two-game lead over the Kingsport Mets in the West Division.
The suspended game picked up in the bottom of the second inning with the Astros leading 2-1 on an Edwin Gomez RBI double and Chase McDonald RBI single from the first inning. The Astros got two more runs in the third inning to make it 4-1 after a throwing error from the Mariners catcher with the bases loaded sent the ball back into the outfield while trying to throw out a runner at second base.
The Mariners, having scored on a RBI single from Franklin Diaz in the second inning before the suspension, were held scoreless through the next four innings. However, in the seventh, the Mariners scored four runs on consecutive at-bats when Aaron Barbosa tripled with a runner on first, Tyler Smith singled to bring him home, Jeffrey Zimmerman followed with another RBI triple and finally a ground out to second allowed Zimmerman time to head home and give the Mariners a 5-4 lead.
Over the final 2.5 innings, the Astros were unable to rally back like they had so many times over the last two weeks. Reliever Emilio Pagan came in and closed the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his league-leading eighth save. Pulaski's winning pitcher, Leoncio Munoz, entered the game in the fifth inning and went 4.0 innings with allowing just one hit.
After a 45 minute break between games, the Astros and Mariners took the field for the regularly scheduled game, albeit shortened to a seven inning affair.
The game was scoreless through four innings. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the Astros' Wallace Gonzalez got on with a walk and was knocked in on a Thomas Lindauer RBI double to put the Astros on top 1-0. For Lindauer, it was his first game in Greeneville since joining the club on Friday from the Short-Season A Tri-City ValleyCats.
In the sixth inning, the Mariners' lead-off man was hit by a pitch. Then, with one out, Wilton Martinez hit a two-run homer to left field to leapfrog the Astros and take the lead, 2-1.
In a game where hits and runs were hard to come by, the Astros eventually found themselves on the losing end of a one-run game for the second time on the night. Mariners reliever Rafael Pineda (S, 2) managed another 1-2-3 inning to close the game and pick up the save. Meanwhile, Noel De La Cruz (W, 3-2) was the winning pitcher for the Mariners after going 6.0 innings with three hits, one run, two walks and three strikeouts.
The Astros will face the Mariners in game three of the series on Sunday at Pioneer Park. Game time will be at 6:00pm. For more information on the Greeneville Astros, please visit www.greenevilleastros.com or call (423) 638-0411.