JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - In a must-win game for the Cardinals, Bluefield jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The Blue Jays racked up 12 runs on 16 hits, as Bluefield eliminated Johnson City from playoff contention with a 12-1 win in front of 2,578 fans at TVA Credit Union Ballpark on Thursday night.
With the loss, Johnson City's 2017 season comes to a close, as they finish the season tied for second in the west with Greeneville at 33-34. As a result of the tie-breaker, the Astros clinch the postseason berth over the Cardinals. Bluefield's win gives them a league-best 46-22 record.
The Jays spanked two home runs in the first to jump out to an early lead. After a leadoff single by CF Chavez Young (3-5, 3 R, 2B, RBI, 2 SO), SS Kevin Smith (3-5, 2 R, HR, 6 RBI, SO) slapped a two-run home run to left. The blast - his eighth of the year - put Bluefield in front, 2-0. Three batters later, 3B Brandon Grudizelanek (2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI) laced a liner over the left-field fence for a solo shot. The long ball - his second of the season - put the Blue Jays in the lead, 3-0.
Bluefield would add crooked number again in the fourth, sixth and eighth to put the game out of reach.
In the fourth, RF Freddy Rodriguez (2-4, R, RBI) slapped a run-scoring single to right and 2B Jesus Navarro (1-3, R, RBI, SO) added a safety squeeze bunt to stretch the Jays' advantage to five, 5-0.
Three more men crossed the dish in the sixth on a RBI double by Young and a two-run base-knock to right Smith, giving the Blue Jays an eight-run cushion, 8-0.
Bluefield capped off their night by driving in four more tallies in the eighth. Smith finished off his six-RBI night with another two-run single, while C Yorman Rodriguez (3-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI) poked a two-run double, giving Bluefield a two-touchdown edge, 12-0.
Johnson City broke up the shutout in the bottom of the eighth. After walks to CF Carlos Talavera (1-4, R, BB, SO) and 3B Brady Whalen (0-3, 2 BB), C Alexis Wilson (1-3, RBI) knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly to left, putting the Cardinals on the board at 12-1.
RHP Alvaro Galindo (5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 SO) earned his fourth win of the year for the Jays, hurling five innings of scoreless ball. RHP Will Changarotty (2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, SO) was taxed for three runs in the first, taking his second loss in his first start of the season.
The 2018 regular season schedule has not yet been released. Stay tuned to www.jccardinals.com or call (423) 461-4866 for the latest information on schedules, promotions, season and various other ticket plans.
ABOUT THE JOHNSON CITY CARDINALS
The Johnson City Cardinals are the Rookie affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Members of the ten-team Appalachian League, Cardinals baseball has been entertaining families and fans of America's national pastime in the East Tennessee region for 80 years. To learn more about the Johnson City Cardinals, visit www.jccardinals.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.