BRISTOL, Va. - Johnson City's bullpen combined to limit Bristol to just one hit over the game's final five innings, as the Cardinals won their fifth-straight game, beating the Pirates, 4-2, on Thursday night at Boyce Cox Field.
With the win, the Redbirds improved their overall mark to 26-22 on the season. Bristol's loss drops their record for the year to 10-38.
Tied at two in the fifth, the Cardinals grabbed the lead for good thanks to one of three Pirates' errors in the contest. LF Chase Pinder (1-4, R, 2 SO) started the rally with a single through the hole at short and moved to second on a stolen base. With two outs, C Julio Rodriguez (1-5, 2 SO) reached on an infield single to short, however, the throw to the bag was in the dirt. Pinder never stopped running, scoring from second on the play to put the Redbirds in front, 3-2.
In the ninth, Johnson City added a key insurance run. 2B J.D. Murders (1-4, R, 3B, SO) slapped a triple down the left-field line to start the inning and DH Irving Lopez (2-4, R, 2B, RBI) brought him home - singling through the drawn-in infield - to give the Cardinals a 4-2 advantage.
LHP Jacob Patterson (1.0 IP, H, SO) gave up a lone single in the ninth but recorded the game's final three outs to seal the win and his Appalachian League-high-tying eighth save.
Initially delayed an hour and 16 minutes by rain, the Cardinals grabbed the initial lead with a run in the first. Lopez doubled to left on the second pitch of the game and moved to third on an infield base-hit by CF Wadye Ynfante (2-5, 2 SO). With two away, 1B Luis Bandes (1-4, RBI) ripped a RBI single to right to make it a 1-0 game.
Bristol answered in the bottom of the frame. Following singles by LF Edison Lantigua (4-5, R, 2B, RBI) and C Jason Delay (1-5), DH Matt Diorio (0-3, BB, SO) and SS Kyle Watson (1-3, RBI, BB, 2 SO) drew consecutive two-out walks to force home a run and even the score at one.
Johnson City jumped back ahead in the second, as SS Imeldo Diaz (2-3, R, 2B, BB) doubled to start the frame, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on an error. The Bucs would tie at two it in the fourth on a run-scoring double by Lantigua.
It was an up-and-down start for RHP Alvaro Seijas (4.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO), striking out six and allowing two runs in four innings of work. The bullpen picked him up beautifully on Thursday, as RHP Juan Alvarez (2.0 IP, BB, SO), LHP Jake Dahlberg (2.0 IP, 4 SO) and Patterson (1.0 IP, H, SO) united to hurl five spotless innings with six strikeouts. Alvarez earned his second-straight win for his efforts.
Bristol's LHP Domingo Robles (5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, ER, 6 SO) was solid, surrendering just one earned run (three total) in five innings, but was handed his sixth defeat of the year.
Lopez (2-4, R, 2B, RBI) extended his hitting streak to a season-best seven games on Thursday, while Ynfante (2-5, 2 SO) added a pair of singles. Diaz (2-3, R, 2B, BB) collected a pair of knocks to snap a 0-for-11 skid in the win.
Johnson City will go for their second-straight sweep on Friday, as LHP Jacob Schlesener (1-1, 2.67 ERA) is expected to take the hill for the Redbirds. Bristol is expected to counter with RHP Travis MacGregor (1-2, 5.09 ERA), the Pirates' No. 18 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com.
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. Friday 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.