ELIZABETHTON, Tenn.-In a contest that only lasted two hours and 28 minutes, the Elizabethton Twins rode the strong arms of a trio of pitchers whom were backed by four runs of offensive to shutout the Kingsport Mets 4-0 in Wednesday's Game 1 action at Joe O'Brien Field.
The loss in Game 1 for Kingsport (17-30) marks consecutive losses after taking the first two games against the Bristol Pirates a series ago at Boyce Cox Field. Now at 13 games under .500, Kingsport will look at the remaining two contests of the series against the E-Twins (24-22) to gain some ground back in the Appalachian League West.
Elizabethton starting pitcher Ryan Mason (2-2) pitched a gem of a game to even his season record at two apiece. The right-hander surrendered only four hits while tossing six scoreless innings on the mound. Mason also tallied three strikeouts during the contest while only walking one K-Met.
Sixto Torres (0-3) was tabbed with the loss on the outing though the K-Met starter pitched well in what was his fourth start of the season since being called up from the Gulf Coast League. The southpaw surrendered only one earned run in six innings pitched on the mound. The lefty also tallied four strikeouts compared to only one walk.
The contest featured one of the better pitching duels of the season as the main difference in the game was four errors committed by Kingsport. The freebies played a major role in the win for Elizabethton as the home squad now sits two games above the .500 mark on the season.
The E-Twins scored their first run of the contest in the bottom of the second innings following a lead-off triple from Hank Morrison, who was just reinstated off the disabled list after taking a pitch off the face three weeks ago that resulted in a broken nose. A 6-3 groundout from Ben Rortvedt plated Morrison from third base and the score was then 1-0 Elizabethton after two innings.
The home team would scrape another run across the plate two innings later in the fourth when a bizarre 4-6-3-6 double play brought in the E-Twins second run from third base. Carrier scored the run off the bat of Rortvedt once more and Kingsport was now in a 2-0 hole heading the fifth inning.
Two more insurance runs would be added to the Elizabethton total in the bottom of the seventh inning when the Minnesota Twins' 2016 1st Round selectee Alex Kirilloff drove in two runners on a single down the right field line.
The four runs would be enough for Elizabethton as the score would remain until the 27th out was recorded by Lewin Diaz at first base to secure the 4-0 shutout victory.
The K-Mets put runners in scoring position three times on the night but were unable to come through in scoring a run.
Anthony Dimino was caught stealing trying to swipe first base in the top of the first to end the first threat. Jose Miguel Medina then grounded out to second base with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning and Jeremy wolf struck out in the eighth inning to strand a runner at third base.
Aside from Mason who started the contest, Alex Robinson and Johan Quezada teamed up to pitch the final three innings of scoreless baseball for the E-Twins. The duo surrendered no hits while tallying a combined four strikeouts.
Blake Taylor was the first of two men out of the bullpen to relieve Torres after going six innings strong. The left-handed pitcher, who was making only his second appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago, was roughed up a bit following a scoreless outing against the Burlington Royals on August 4. Taylor yielded three hits and two walks in a two-run seventh inning for Elizabethton.
After putting runners on second and third bases with no outs in the eighth inning, Gregorix Estevez struck out both Andre Jernigan and Luis Martinez at the bottom of the order and completed the scoreless inning with a fly out to center field from Ariel Montesino.
Kirilloff led the way at the plate for the E-Twins while turning in a 2-for-3 day at the plate with the two-run single. Jernigan also tallied a two-hit day while Rortvedt drove in two runs in the win.
Dimino tallied two of the four hits Kingsport managed on the night in a 2-for-3 effort and a walk at the plate. Wolf and Medina tallied the other two hits on the night for the K-Mets.
The final line score read four runs off eighth hits and no errors for Elizabethton during the win while Kingsport's read no runs off four hits and four errors in the loss.
Game 3 of the series is set for Thursday night at Joe O'Brien Field beginning at 7:00 p.m. Kingsport will send Jordan Humphreys to the mound and while Elizabethton will counter with Alex Schick. Coverage on the Kingsport Mets Baseball Network will begin at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. The contest can be found at both kmets.com or on the TuneIn application by simply searching 'Kingsport Mets'.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.