Greeneville, TN - The Greeneville Astros (0-1) fell behind early to the Kingsport Mets (1-0) in game one of their best-of-three Appalachian League playoff series on Sunday night at Pioneer Park and were never able to recover. While the Astros outhit the Mets, seven to five, Kingsport found a way to score more runs and head home with a 3-1 victory to take the series lead.
The Mets began the game with a leadoff double by Appalachian League All-Star Yeixon Ruiz. Then, after a Victor Cruzado walk, Jeyckol De Leon and Joe Tuschak hit back-to-back RBI singles to give the Mets a 2-0 lead by the end of the first inning.
A few innings later, with two outs in the fourth, the Mets' Adrian Abreu got on base when he was hit by a pitch and, with Champ Stuart batting, he stole second. Then, after Stuart was walked, Yeixon Ruiz increased the Mets lead to 3-0 with a RBI single.
While Astros' starting pitcher Jandel Gustave was charged with two runs on three hits in the first inning, he settled in and only allowed one more run on two hits over the next four innings to go with seven strikeouts. Then, Joe Musgrove came on for his first action of the season in Greeneville, after being called up from the Gulf Coast League last week, and held the Mets hitless over the final four innings with four strikeouts.
In the seventh inning, with two outs, the Astros finally cut into the Mets' lead. First, Brett Phillips got his third consecutive single of the night for the Astros. Then, Brian Holberton ripped a line drive double into right field to bring Phillips around for the score. However, Holberton was stranded during the next at bat and was the last of nine Astros left on base throughout the night.
Mets' right-handed pitcher Chris Flexen, who led the league with eight wins during the regular season, picked up his first postseason win. At the time of his departure, he had held the Astros scoreless on five hits with three strikeouts over five innings. Then, Persio Reyes entered the game and, over the final four innings, he gave up one run on two hits with two strikeouts and was credited with the save.
The Astros will try to even the series when they travel to Hunter Wright Stadium in Kingsport for game two on Monday night at 7:00pm. Game three, if necessary, will also take place in Kingsport. The eventual winner of the series will battle the East Division Champion Pulaski Mariners, who knocked off the Bluefield Blue Jays in two games.
For more information on the Greeneville Astros, please visit www.greenevilleastros.com or call (423) 638-0411.