The Kingsport Mets' season comes down to one game to determine the West Division pennant in the Appalachian League.
The Greeneville Astros successfully saved themselves from elimination with a 7-2 win on Monday at Hunter Wright Stadium in Game 2 of their divisional playoff series. Kingsport and Greeneville meet on Tuesday in Game 3 for all the West Division marbles. Robert Whalen is expected to pitch for the K-Mets. Jandel Gustave is listed as Greeneville's probable starter.
Greenville scored all the runs it would need in the third inning, with a solo home run by Ariel Ovando the first of four consecutive base hits to lead off the inning. Those hits and a pair of sacrifice flies helped the Astros take a 4-0 lead.
Tanner Mathis homered two innings later to make it a 5-0 game for Greeneville.
Kingsport had eight hits compared to the Astros' 10, but the K-Mets' only runs scored on solo home runs by Yeixon Ruiz in the fifth inning and Jeyckol De Leon in the sixth.
De Leon's home run came off newly entered Astro reliever Austin Chrismon, who allowed three straight base hits and bring the potential tying run to the plate in a 5-2 ballgame. Chrismon settled down, however, striking out Michael Bernal, Amed Rosario and Champ Stuart to escape the jam.
Kingsport wouldn't have another base runner the rest of the night, as Chrismon and Gerardo Ramirez combined to retire 12 straight to end the game.
Chris Lee (1-0) picked up the win after a five-inning start for Greeneville.
Carlos Gomez (0-1) took the loss thanks to that rough third inning. Alberto Baldonado was the most effective of Kingsport's three hurlers, allowing one run on three hits over 3 2-3 innings in relief.
Mathis had two hits and three runs scored with a pair of RBIs out of the leadoff spot in the Astro lineup. Thomas Lindauer went 3-for-4. The bottom three hitters in the Greeneville lineup-Ovando, Lindauer and Brett Phillips-combined for half of the Astros' hits and three runs scored.
Ruiz, Pedro Perez and first-round pick Dominic Smith each had two hits for Kingsport.
The Pulaski Mariners await the winner of this series in the Appalachian League championship series. The Mariners swept the Bluefield Blue Jays 2-0 in the first round, and will have two days off by the time this series concludes thanks to Saturday's rainout between the K-Mets and Astros in Greeneville.
NOTES: There were some great defensive plays by both teams. Greeneville benefited from some fine glove work in the third. The middle infield turned a slick double play after Ruiz led off the inning with a walk, and Lindauer made a fine play ranging beyond second base to throw out Jon Leroux and end the inning. … Smith started and finished a nice 3-6-3 double play in the sixth. … The Astros hit three sacrifice flies. … Greeneville's final run scored in the ninth on a two-base throwing error by Perez. … Tyler Bashlor pitched the ninth for the K-Mets.