Jackson Lueck led off the Royals’ half of the inning with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Bret Bewley walked and swiped second base before Jacob Sylvester (1-1) intentionally walked Hunter Strong — bringing Marquez to the batter’s box.
The tie-breaking run materialized with nobody out.
Nolan Gorman followed up Jonatan Machado’s RBI single with a two-run double as the Cardinals (9-14) pushed across four runs in the fifth. Carlos Soto Jr. added a run-scoring base hit, helping Johnson City turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead.
The Royals (5-20), however, pulled even with a three-run sixth, scoring on a wild pitch before Lueck ripped a two-run homer.
Lueck finished at 3 for 4 (2 runs) and Marquez 2 for 4. Burlington’s Juan Carlos Negret swatted a two-run, fourth-inning homer after the Cards opened the scoring on Leandro Cedeno RBI single in the top of the inning.
Gorman was the lone Johnson City player with multiple hits, going 2 for 5.
The Royals totaled nine hits to the Cardinals’ seven.
Taking over for starter Austin Cox, Marlin Willis (2-1) pitched four innings of closing, shutout relief.
While Burlington won for only the fifth time this season, Johnson City absorbed its fifth consecutive defeat.
The two teams resume their three-game series at 6 p.m. today.