KINGSPORT, Tenn. - 1B Luis Bandes continued his recent tear at the plate, slamming two home runs and driving four, but it was not enough, as the Kingsport Mets rallied for three in the ninth to stun the Johnson City Cardinals, 13-12, on Saturday night at Hunter Wright Stadium.
With the loss, Johnson City drops to 9-14 on the year. Kingsport's victory improves their overall mark to 9-12.
The Cardinals maintained a 12-10 advantage going to the bottom of the ninth, but the game was quickly evened on a walk and a two-run home run by DH Kevin Hall (1-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 SO), his first of the season. Two batters later, 2B Angel Manzanarez (2-3, 3 R, HR, RBI, 2 BB) slammed a ball over the wall in left field for a solo homer - his first of the year - to give the Mets a walk-off 13-12 win.
Johnson City got off to a rip-roaring start, scoring five times in the top of the first. With two on and one out, Bandes (3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SO) demolished a towering blast to left for a three-run dinger. The homer - his second of the year - put the Redbirds ahead, 3-0. The Cardinals would add two more on an error and a RBI double by LF Walker Robbins (2-4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI) to stretch the advantage to 5-0.
3B Rigoberto Terrazas (4-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 3B, 2 RBI) helped put two across for the K-Mets in the bottom half of the frame. The switch-hitter cranked a run-scoring triple and came home on a wild pitch to cut the Birds lead to 5-2.
The Redbirds responded with a run in the fourth and three more in the fifth. 2B Irving Lopez (2-5, 3B, RBI) whacked a RBI triple to make it 6-2 in the fourth inning, while Bandes unleashed his second homer - an even further blast to left - to increase the lead to five in the fifth. 3B Brady Whalen (1-4, R, 2 RBI, SO) added a RBI single and Robbins brought home another with a sacrifice fly to give Johnson City a 9-2 edge through four-and-a-half.
Kingsport immediately struck back with a four-run bottom of the fifth. RF Wagner Lagrange (2-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, SO) crushed a three-run blast to left - his first of the season - and 1B Jeremy Vasquez (1-5, 2 RBI, SO) slapped a RBI single to cut the Cardinals' lead down to 9-6.
The topsy-turvy nature of the affair continued, as Johnson City responded with two more tallies in the sixth, scoring a pair on a wild pitch and a missed catch error.
Three consecutive run-scoring plate appearances - a single by Lagrange, a double by Terrazas and a ground out by Vasquez - allowed Kingsport to pull with in two after six at 11-9.
Both teams would ultimately trade runs in the eighth, as Johnson City received a sacrifice fly to center by Whalen and the Mets picked up a tally with a RBI single to right by C Juan Uriarte (2-5, RBI).
RHP Stephen Villines (1.0 IP, 2 SO) pitched a three-up, three-down ninth inning to garner his first professional win for the K-Mets. For the Cardinals, LHP Fabian Blanco (1.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) suffered a blown save and his second loss of the year in defeat.
Neither starter factored into the decision on Saturday. Johnson City RHP Franyel Casadilla (4.0+ IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, BB, SO) was taxed for six runs on nine hits in four-plus innings, while his counterpart RHP Jose Geraldo (4.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 3 ER, BB, 3 SO) yielded six runs (three earned) in four frames for Kingsport.
All nine batters reached base for the Cards on Saturday, led by the three-hit, four-RBI performance by Bandes (3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SO). Lopez (2-5, 3B, RBI), CF Wadye Ynfante (2-6, R, 3 SO), RF Carlos Rodriguez (2-4, 2 R, 2 2B, BB) and Robbins (2-4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI) all mustered multi-hit efforts in the loss, as well. Whalen (1-4, R, 2 RBI, SO) also added his second consecutive multi-RBI game.
The Cardinals will look to rebound on Sunday, as LHP Jacob Schlesener (0-1, 4.61 ERA) is expected to toe the slab for Johnson City. Kingsport is slated to send RHP Carlos Hernandez (1-0, 2.08 ERA) to the hill in game two of the series.
The Cardinals Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 3:45 p.m. ET, leading up to the 4:00 p.m. ET start at Hunter Wright Stadium. Sunday afternoon's contest can be heard on NBCSportsTriCities.com, JCCardinals.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.
Following the six-game road trip, the Redbirds will return home for a six-set homestand, starting with a three-contest series against the Danville Braves, the rookie affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, starting on Friday, July 21. It will be Salute to Heroes Night at the ballpark, as Johnson City will honor veterans past and present with select discounts inside the stadium. Following that night's game, there will be a spectacular Fireworks Show presented by Xtreme Painting.
Single-game tickets are still available and can be purchased online at JCCardinals.com or by calling the Cardinals' Ticket Office at (423) 461-4866.
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.