BRISTOL, Va. - CF Chase Pinder and DH Luis Bandes collected five of the Cardinals' nine hits and drove in six of the team's seven runs, as Johnson City eked out a 7-6 victory over the Bristol Pirates on Wednesday night at Boyce Cox Field.
The victory improves Johnson City's overall mark to 25-22 and ties their longest winning streak of the season at four straight. Bristol's loss drops their record on the year to 10-37.
Tied at seven in the eighth, the Cardinals took the lead for good. SS Imeldo Diaz (0-5, R, 3 SO) reached on an error to start the frame and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. On a 2-2 delivery, Pinder (3-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, SO) poked a ground ball to the right side. The ball deflected off the first and second basemen's gloves, as Diaz scored on the single to put the Redbirds in front, 7-6.
After a scoreless eighth, LHP Brett Seeburger (2.0 IP, H, 3 SO) stayed on in the ninth and sealed the deal. The left-hander retired six-of-the-seven men he faced to wrap up the victory and his first professional save.
Wednesday's affair was a back-and-forth contest, as Johnson City's fourth lead was the game's last.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second thanks to a pair of walks, a passed ball and a wild pitch that allowed 3B Brady Whalen (1-3, R, 2 BB) to score. Bristol answered back with a four-run bottom of the second taking a 4-1 advantage on a RBI groundout, a run-scoring single by CF Yondry Contreras (2-5, R, 2 RBI, 2 SO) and a two-RBI double by LF Edison Lantigua (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, SO).
The Bucs only lead of the night was brief, as Johnson City answered with four of their own in the top of the third. After a leadoff single by 2B Irving Lopez (1-4, R), Pinder ripped a towering two-run blast over the left-field wall. The home run - his third of the year and second in as many days - pulled the Cardinals within a run, 4-3. Following back-to-back walks, Bandes (2-5, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, SO) put the Birds ahead, 5-4, on a two-run double down the left-field line.
Bristol tied it up in the fourth, as 2B Nick Valaika (1-3, 2 R, BB) singled, moved to second on a throwing error and scored on a RBI knock by Contreras.
Bandes gave the Redbirds the lead back in the top of the fifth, as he hammered the first pitch of the frame over the left-field fence for a solo homer. The massive clout - his eighth of the year - put the Cardinals back in the lead, 6-5. That advantage was short-lived, as the Bucs evened it up on a RBI single by RF Ryan Peurifoy (1-4, 2 RBI) in the bottom of the inning.
RHP Will Changarotty (3.2 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 6 SO) was excellent in relief for Johnson City, striking out a season-high six en route to his third victory of the season. Bristol's RHP Miguel Hernandez (2.0 IP, H, R, 3 BB) was the tough-luck loser, taking his fourth defeat after yielding only one unearned run.
Neither starter received a decision on Wednesday. RHP Edwar Ramirez (3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO) failed to make it through four innings for the Cardinals, while his counterpart - the Pirates' RHP Hunter Stratton (2.0+ IP, 2 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 6 BB, 2 SO) - walked six and did not retire a batter in the third.
Pinder (3-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, SO) continued his recent assault on Appalachian League pitching, recording a game-high three hits and driving a career-best three runs. Bandes (2-5, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, SO) posted his seventh consecutive multi-hit game for the Cardinals in the triumph.
Johnson City will go for their seventh series win in eight tries on Thursday, as RHP Alvaro Seijas (4-1, 5.31 ERA) - St. Louis' No. 20 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com - is expected to take the hill for the Redbirds. Bristol is expected to counter with LHP Domingo Robles (2-5, 4.63 ERA), the Pirates' No. 28 prospect according to the same publication.
The Cardinals Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 6:45 p.m. ET, leading up to the 7:00 p.m. ET start at Boyce Cox Field. Thursday evening's contest can be heard on NBCSportsTriCities.com, JCCardinals.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.
After the three-game road trip, the Cardinals will return home to open up a four-game homestand against the Elizabethton Twins, the rookie affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, on Saturday, August 12. Following the game will be the final Postgame Fireworks Show of the season presented by the Washington County Sheriff Litter Control.
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.