ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - Julio Puello flirted with a perfect game, and the Cardinals hit three home runs en route to a 9-5 win at Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark Monday evening. The night featured a grand slam from Malcom Nunez in his Johnson City Cardinals debut.
Puello (2-1) was magnificent, setting aside 18 straight to begin his fifth start of the season before losing his perfecto bid in the seventh. He struck out eight in just over six innings on his way to his second win.
Raffy Ozuna took Ryley Widell (0-4) deep to open the scoring in the third. His solo blast made it 1-0 Cardinals. The homer was the first of the season for Ozuna. Jhon Torres followed with a solo homer of his own, his third of the season, in the fourth. After Todd Lott picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly, Nunez blew the game open with the bases loaded when he sent a screaming line drive over the left field wall in the fifth.
Mateo Gil scored on a wild pitch in the ninth before Liam Sabino capped the Cardinal scoring with an RBI base hit. Ozuna led all batters with three hits. Nunez, Torres and Gil all finished with two. The Cards outhit the Twins 12-5.
Dylan Pearce carded 1.2 innings of scoreless relief before Cameron Dulle finished the game on the mound for the Cardinals. Cardinal pitching finished with a total of 13 strikeouts.
Johnson City and Elizabethton conclude the four-game series tomorrow. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. The Cards will look for a series split behind RHP Dalton Roach (1-0, 5.64 ERA). RHP Tyler Benninghoff (1-1, 9.49 ERA) is expected to start for the Twins.
The Cards return home for a fun-filled homestand vs. the Pirates and Braves July 17-22. The full schedule for this season and season ticket information can be found 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 over 50 years. To learn more about the Johnson City Cardinals, visit www.jccardinals.com.
[STORY PHOTO BY ROBERT KELL]
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.