The Johnson City Cardinals know that all too well, as they scored the first three runs of the game on Sunday afternoon at TVA Credit Union Ballpark, but ultimately fell to the Pulaski Yankees, 5-4.
A costly error in the fifth inning and a game-clinching run in the top of the ninth sealed the Cardinals’ (8-9) fate.
The Yankees (8-11) gave up the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, but stormed back in the final frame on a Max Burt game-winning single that plated Nelson Gomez from third base.
Brandon Riley went 3-for-5 on the day and three other Cardinals players had two hits each.
CHANCE FOR THE CARDS
Johnson City had two chances in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run on second base and the winning run at the plate, but both Riley and Kevin Woodall Jr. struck out in their respective opportunities.
The Cardinals outhit the Yankees 12-8, but were not able to get the timely hits in the late innings.
Cards starter Noel De Jesus ran into his first trouble spot in the top of the fifth when he walked two straight batters with one out. Suddenly, the tying run was at the plate.
Griffin Garabito hit a bullet to shallow right field that got by Brian Sanchez and scored both Burt and Juan De Leon.
Garabito was running hard around the diamond, was sent home by the third-base coach and was safe at home.
The Yankees had tied the game in typical Appalachian League fashion with one swing of the bat on a three-base error that allowed the ball to roll all the way to the wall in right.
After recording one more out, De Jesus got the hook and was replaced by Mike Brettell.
YANKS TAKE THE LEAD
Evan Alexander singled to reach base with two outs for the Yankees to keep the rally in the fifth inning going.
After the pitching change, Alexander stole second base, moving him into scoring position. Everson Pereira singled to left and it scored Alexander from second.
The run would give Pulaski the lead at 4-3 after trailing by three entering the frame.
COMING THROUGH WHEN NEEDED
In the bottom of the eighth inning with the Cardinals trailing 4-3 with one out already in the inning and only five more to play with, Zach Jackson stepped up to the dish and jacked a solo home run over the left-field wall to tie the game.
The Cardinals offense had been stagnant up to that point after scoring three quick runs in the second.
Johnson City had a breakout inning in the second frame, starting off with Dariel Gomez belting a two-run home run over the right-field wall that gave the Cardinals a quick 2-0 lead as Nolan Gorman was also able to score. It was Gomez’s fifth homer of the season.
Michael Perri followed it up with a solo home run down the left field line two batters later, and the Cards increased the lead to 3-0.
FOR THE FOES
Both Pereira and Burt finished the game with two hits and a RBI each.
Oddly enough, Carlos Espinal was credited with both the win for the Yankees and a blown save. He struck out four and allowed two hits.
The Yankees and Cardinals will play the final game of the three-game series Monday with the first pitch set to be thrown at 7 p.m.