Chris Flexen ended the Kingsport Mets' nine-game homestand in resounding fashion. Flexen fired a two-hit shutout, and the K-Mets posted a 1-0 victory over Burlington in the rubber game of their series on Tuesday at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Flexen (7-1) threw 100 pitches, allowing the two hits and a walk. He tallied 11 strikeouts, matching his career high. He retired Burlington in order in five of his nine innings of work. Flexen has two shutouts this season, but the other was in a seven-inning game as part of a doubleheader... coincidentally, against Burlington. In two outings against the Royals, Flexen allowed zero runs, six hits and tallied 20 total strikeouts.
Kingsport got its one run in the second inning, when Pedro Perez led off with a single and scored on Amed Rosario's double to right. Rosario produced the hardest-hit ball for either team, lacing one deep to right that caromed off the wall. Perez scored with ease.
Burlington's best chance to score came in the ninth, when Alfredo Escalera singled with one out, then stole second and reached third on a throwing error by Adrian Abreu. But Flexen struck out Bobby Brown to end the game.
Burlington sent four pitchers to the mound while Flexen was pitching his gem.
Rosario had two hits for Kingsport, which had six as a team and overcame three errors in the field.
The win improves Kingsport's chances to make the playoffs. The K-Mets remain second in the West, in a tightly packed divisional race. Division leader Greeneville, Kingsport, Elizabethton and Johnson City all came into Tuesday night within four games of first place with about 10 games left in the season. Only two of those four teams make the playoffs, and those four teams have no head-to-head meetings the rest of the way.
NOTES: The Mets promoted outfielder Eris Peguero to Brooklyn. Brooklyn is also in a playoff chase, trailing first-place Aberdeen by 1 ½ games in the McNamara Division. … Scary moment in the bottom of the second inning, when Abreu's bat shattered on an inning-ending grounder to third base, and the barrel of the bat came close to hitting Champ Stuart in the on-deck circle. … Kingsport's Jeff Diehl went 0-for-3 with a walk, ending his 16-game hitting streak. … This loss and Pulaski's win over Bluefield mathematically eliminated the Royals from playoff contention. … The K-Mets wrapped their homestand with a 4-5 record, winning the last two contests.