Grand slam fuels Astros past Twins

Roman Garcia crosses home plate after notching his first career grand slam. (James Spears)

By Dustin Fishman / Greeneville Astros | July 16, 2017 9:52 PM ET

The Greeneville Astros (15-8) evened the series against the Elizabethton Twins (15-9) to the tune of an 8-4 victory on Sunday night. The Astros were propelled by their second grand slam of the week, putting them back into first place in the west division of the Appalachian League.

 It wouldn't be until the top of the second inning when Elizabethton would record the first hit of the game. Left fielder Brent Rooker hit his league leading seventh home run of the season on a fly ball over the left field wall. Greeneville starter Gerardo Bojorquez (2-0) quickly got back into the swing of things, striking out the next two batters and forcing a groundout to end the inning.

Greeneville returned the favor in the bottom of the fourth inning tying the game at one apiece. Third baseman Adrian Tovalin walked to start the inning, but after a strike out and fly out there were quickly two outs. In the next at bat Frankeny Fernandez walked setting up Ruben Castro for an RBI single, which was lined to center field and Tovalin scored from second base. Joan Mauricio walked to load the bases, but a fly out would keep additional runs from scoring.

The Astros took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Second baseman Cody Bohanek hit his sixth double of the year on a sharp grounder hit to left field. Not wasting any time, center fielder Gilberto Celestino cranked his second home run of the year to center field making it a 3-1 game with the Astros in the driver's seat. After a walk and a strikeout, Oscar Campos reached base on a throwing error putting runners on second and third. A pitching change was exactly what the Twins needed as they were then able to end the inning on a strike out and ground out.

Looking to extend their lead, Greeneville started the bottom of the sixth inning with back-to-back singles by Joan Mauricio and Wilson Amador. A failed bunt attempt gave Elizabethton the first out of the inning, but a wild pitch moved up the runners. Celestino drew a walk to load the bases with Astros, but a strikeout forced Greeneville to earn their runs. First baseman Roman Garcia stepped up to the plate and smashed a pitch over the right center field wall for his second home run of the season and first grand slam of his career. Elizabethton gave up another hit, but recorded a force out to end the inning.

The Twins used a rally of their own in the top of the eighth inning to cut into the Astros lead. With two singles to start the inning, Jheyson Caraballo got the first out of the inning before walking Ariel Montesino to load the bases. Jordan Gore cleared the bases on a double to center field making it a 7-4 game in favor of the Astros. Caraballo recorded the next two outs keeping the Twins from scoring any more runs that inning.

In search of some insurance runs, Greeneville got just what they needed in the bottom of the eighth inning. Tovalin singled to start the inning and Garcia doubled to center field putting runners at second and third with two outs. With Brody Westmoreland pinch-hitting for Campos, Westmoreland reached via a fielder's choice as the shortstop tagged out Roman Garcia for the first out. Fernandez then stepped up to the plate and singled to right scoring Tovalin and securing the victory.

The Astros and the Twins will close out the series tomorrow night with first pitch scheduled for 7:00pm. Astros starter Hansel Paulino (1-0) will be on the bump facing off against right hander Huascar Ynoa (0-1).  

The Astros are the Appalachian League affiliate of the Houston Astros. For more information, visit www.greenevilleastros.com or call (423) 638-0411.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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