The Bristol Pirates fell to third place in the Appalachian League West Division on Wednesday night, as they dropped the series opener 6-3 to the Johnson City Cardinals.
The Cardinals broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fifth inning on a double by shortstop Raffy Ozuna and a home run from right fielder Terry Fuller to take a 3-0 lead. After extending their lead to 6-0, Johnson City surrendered their first run of the night when Pirates right fielder Jake Wright hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score catcher Eli Wilson from third. Third baseman Aaron Shackelford launched a one-out home run to right field in the bottom of the ninth to make it a 6-3 game, but a fly out to center and a ground out to third ended the game to give the Pirates back-to-back losses for the first time since June 23-25.
Starter Dante Mendoza tied his career-high with six strikeouts against the Cardinals, allowing two hits and two walks over four scoreless innings. Yoelvis Reyes recorded his first loss of the year after allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks over two innings. Yordi Rosario closed out the game for the Pirates with 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out a season-high four batters.
Shackelford finished 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, two RBI and a run scored to lead the Pirates at the plate. The home run was his third of the year - all three of which have come over the span of a week - as Shackelford now leads the team and is tied for 13th in the Appalachian League. Shortstop Francisco Acuna was 1-for-3 with a double in the loss, while Wright ended the night 1-for-3 with his first career RBI.
The Pirates (11-10) will try to even up the series in Game 2 tomorrow night at 6:30. Thursday's game will feature a toy drive sponsored by Chick-Fil-A at Exit 7 in Bristol. The first 200 fans to donate a toy at tomorrow's game will receive a card for one free Chick-Fil-A meal.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.