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Twins falter in 10th inning, lose to Reds

Douglas Fritz • Jul 19, 2018 at 10:24 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Appalachian League baseball’s new extra-inning rule probably could not be any more wonky, and Elizabethton probably couldn’t have been any more wonky in handling both ends of it.

The Twins’ defense opened the door for a run in the top of the 10th inning, and then baserunning closed the door in the bottom half. The cumulative effect of those things allowed Greeneville to walk out of Joe O’Brien Field with a 3-2 win Thursday night.

Elizabethton, which had won eight of its nine previous games, fell to 17-10 on the season. The Twins are still in first place in the West Division.

New rule

When Appy League games reach the 10th inning, a runner is placed on second base to start the frame. The visiting team often tries to sacrifice the runner to third base, which the Reds tried to do. The bunt went toward third base and Alex Robles’ throw to first was high. The umpire originally ruled the runner out, but the call was changed after consulting with the home-plate ump — who said first baseman Chris Williams’ foot came off the bag.

Elizabethton still had a chance to escape without a run scoring after a groundout failed to get the run home. But the Twins couldn’t complete what looked like a routine inning-ending double-play grounder to second base.

“We had a chance to make a play,” said Twins’ manager Ray Smith. “We got the double-play ball when we needed it. We got the force out, and just tried to be too quick with the exchange. And we clanked the ball. Hopefully (shortstop) Ricky (De La Torre) will learn from it, and he will be a better player because of it.”

The misplay allowed Brandt Stallings to score from third base.

Bottom half

The Twins got their man on second, but disaster struck quickly. Yunior Severino crushed a low line drive, but it was right at the first baseman. Lean Marrero started toward third base, and was a sitting duck for the double play.

“We talk about the height of the line drive,” said Smith. “If it’s head high or below, your first movement is not freeze, your first movement is back. He was aggressive and went two or three steps (toward third) and he had no chance.”

As fate would have it, Ryan Jeffers roped a two-out single to left-center field that would have plated Marrero. But Chris Williams grounded out to end the game.

Failure to close

Leading 1-0 in the top of the eighth inning, the Twins were burned by Mike Siani’s two-run homer over the right field fence.

The early highlight

Williams hit a line drive to left-center field that appeared to be headed for a collision with the wall. However, Williams had just enough lift to carry it over the fence for a solo homer to lead off the fourth inning.

The late highlight

First-round pick Trevor Larnach, in his second pro game, roped a single to right field in the bottom of the eighth to drive in a run and tie the game at 2-2.

The pitching report

Andrew Cabezas was superb in his start on the mound. He worked five scoreless innings, allowing two hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

Johan Quezada followed with impressive relief work. He tossed two innings, surrendering only a walk with four strikeouts.

Leaders

Yunior Severino and Andrew Cosgrove each had two hits for the Twins.

Miguel Hernandez totaled three hits for the Reds.

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