Greeneville, TN - The Greeneville Astros (38-28) were defeated by the Danville Braves (27-36) on Wednesday night at Pioneer Park, 5-2. The loss for the Astros moves them a half-game behind the playoff-bound Kingsport Mets (38-27) in the Appalachian League West Division.
With two games left, the Astros are still very much in the hunt for the division title and it could go down to the final game of the regular season on Friday night. However, the Astros can go ahead and clinch the remaining playoff spot in the West if they win one of their final two games or if the Elizabethton Twins (36-30) lose one of their final two games. If the Astros and Twins conclude the season with the same record, the Twins will hold the tiebreaker to qualify for the playoffs based on having the better record in head-to-head competition between the two clubs.
In Wednesday's game, the Braves and Astros swapped runs in the first inning. With runners on first and second, the Braves scored on a throwing error by the Astros. Then, following a leadoff double by the Astros' Tanner Mathis in the bottom of the inning, he advanced to third on a Brett Phillips bunt single and scored on a Chase McDonald ground out. However, in the next inning, the Braves took a lead they would never give up.
After a Connor Lien leadoff single at the top of the second inning, Carlos Sanchez hit his first career home run to put the Braves on top 3-1. Then, after three scoreless innings, the Braves added two more runs to their lead. With runners at first and third, Lien laid down a bunt single to score the first run. Then, two batters later, a Ronald Luna ground out plated a second run in the inning to give the Braves a 5-1 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Thomas Lindauer got on base for the Astros with a fielding error by the Braves, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then moved over to third on a Tanner Mathis single. Finally, Lindauer headed home on a sacrifice fly by Brett Phillips in foul territory. The run cut the Braves lead to 5-2, but the Astros were unable to get any closer.
Braves' starter Andrew Waszak (3-5) was credited with the win after pitching 5.0 innings and giving up one earned run on five hits with three strikeouts. Michael Swanner pitched the final 1.1 innings and got his sixth save of the season.
The Astros will face the visiting Braves in game two of their three-game series on Thursday at 7:00pm. For more information on the Greeneville Astros, please visit www.greenevilleastros.com or call (423) 638-0411.