KINGSPORT, Tenn.- Wander Javier's three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning broke a 3-3 ballgame as the Elizabethton Twins utilized three long balls to take down the Kingsport Mets, 6-3 Monday night in Game 1 of the final series of the season.
Kingsport (28-36) has now dropped 8-of-its-last-10 ballgames while falling 0-7 on the season to the Twins (40-26). The Mets were officially eliminated from playoff contention Sunday night with a loss to Bristol while Elizabethton clinched the Appalachian League Western Divisional title over the weekend.
With the two men on base and nobody out in the top of the ninth inning during a 3-3 ballgame, Javier drilled a three-run game-winning home run over the left field wall on a full-count offering from Kingsport reliver Maz Lozer. The hit was the final run-producing knock of the day as the Twins held on to secure the victory in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Anthony Dirocie got things going early on for the Mets in the bottom of the second inning with a solo home run to left-center. The drive was the 11th home run of the season for Dirocie, which is the Appalachian League lead in the category and also tied Luis Bandes for the league-lead in RBIS (48).
After two innings of play, Kingsport led 1-0.
Elizabethton responded in the top of the fourth inning when its clean-up hitter, J.J. Robinson, launched his third, two-run home run of the season against the Mets. The bomb was the ninth overall on the season for the slugger as the second hit of the day put the twins out in front by a run.
Kingsport tied the ballgame in the bottom of the sixth inning when a throwing error by Twins third baseman, Ariel Montesino, allowed Hansel Moreno to come in and score from third base. A good throw would have gotten Juan Uriarte out at first base, but the toss was a little low as the first baseman Robinson could not quite handle to pick.
The score was knotted at two runs apiece after six innings of play.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Kingsport took the lead at 3-2 on an RBI triple from Raphael Gladu as Dan Hoy scored all the way from first base, however, Jose Miranda led off the top of the eighth with a solo home run to tie the game once again at a 3-3 tally.
Miranda's home run was the third of the day for the two teams combined.
The wheels fell off in the top of the ninth when Elizabethton broke the 3-3 game with the monster three-run home run off the bat Javier. Prior to the game-winning bomb, the No. 5 prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts at the plate.
Kingsport could not respond in the bottom of the frame as the Twins took Game 1 by the final score of 6-3.
Jovani Moran (3-1) picked up the win in relief after tossing a scoreless eighth and ninth innings with five of the six outs collected coming via strikeouts. Lozer (2-1) is the loser on the night as the right pitched one inning-plus with four runs off seven hits in the loss. HE was on the mound during the three-run home run from Javier.
Elizabethton scored six runs off 12 hits Monday night, three of those hits were home runs. Robinson had the two-run bomb in the fourth, Miranda the solo homer in the eighth and Javier the game-winning three-run long ball in the ninth. Rainis Silva collected three hits on the night during the victory for the Twins.
Moreno was the lone K-Met to register a multi-hit day as the third baseman was 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored. Dirocie's lone hit of the night was the home run in the second inning while Gladu's knock Monday evening was the RBI triple in the seventh.
Game 2 of the series is set to begin Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. from Hunter Wright Stadium.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.