ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - Johnson City issued a season-worst 12 walks, as the Cardinals fell to the hands of the Elizabethton Twins, 8-1, on Monday night at Joe O'Brien Field.
With the loss, Johnson City drops to 31-26 on the campaign. Elizabethton's victory improved their record to 35-23.
The Redbirds loss - coupled with Greeneville's victory over Bristol - drops them to just one game ahead of the Astros for the second and final playoff spot in the Appalachian League western division.
Tied at one in the fifth, the Twins grabbed the lead for good. CF Akil Baddoo (0-3, 2 R, BB, SO) reached on an error to start the frame and advanced to second on a wild pitch. DH Wander Javier (1-2, R, RBI, 3 BB, SO) put Elizabethton in front, 2-1, by ripping a RBI single to right.
Following back-to-back walks to 2B Jose Miranda (0-3, R, 2 BB) and C Rainis Silva (0-3, R, BB), another error allowed a pair of runners to score, extending the E-Twins lead to 4-1. 3B Andrew Bechtold 's (2-2, R, RBI, BB) sacrifice fly to right capped off the scoring in the frame, making it a 5-1 contest.
Elizabethton put the game out of reach by scoring three runs without a hit in the eighth. The first three batters of the inning - Bechtold, LF Matt Albanese (0-3, R, BB, SO) and RF Colton Waltner (0-1, R, 3 BB, SO) - all reached on walks. Bechtold and Waltner came home on wild pitches, while Albanese crossed the plate on a passed ball, giving the Twins a seven-run lead, 8-1.
The Twins scored the first run of the game with a tally in the bottom of the third. Baddoo was hit by a pitch, while Javier and Miranda walked to load the bases with nobody out. On the first pitch, Silva grounded into a double play, but a run scored to put the E-Twins in the driver's seat, 1-0.
Johnson City came right back, scoring their only run of the night in the top of the fourth. With one out and a 0-2 count, 3B Brady Whalen (1-3, R, HR, RBI, BB) hammered a delivery over the right-field wall for a solo home run. The blast - his seventh of the year - evened the game up at one.
It was a quality start for Elizabethton's RHP Nick Brown (6.0 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 6 SO). The right-hander struck out six and allowed one run over six frames to earn his second win of the year. RHP Jared Finkel (3.0 IP, H, 2 SO) entered in the seventh and recorded the final nine outs to garner his second professional save.
LHP Jacob Schlesener (4.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 7 BB, SO) induced a season-high three double play grounders, but walked a season-worst seven, taking his second defeat of the campaign.
In a tough loss, RHP Jake Walsh (3.0 IP, 4 SO) shined bright out of the bullpen. The 22-year-old retired all nine batters he faced and struck out four in relief.
Johnson City will look to take their ninth series in 11 attempts in Tuesday's rubber match, as RHP Evan Guillory (2-1, 2.97 ERA) is slated to take the hill. Elizabethton is projected to counter with RHP Edwar Colina (3-4, 3.08 ERA).
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 Joe O'Brien Field. Tuesday evening's contest can be heard on JCCardinals.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.
Following the six-game road trip, the Redbirds will return home to open up a three-game series against the Greeneville Astros, the rookie affiliate of the Houston Astros, on Wednesday, August 23. It will be Hot Dog Heaven Night as all hot dogs that evening will be sold for just 50 cents.
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.