The Cardinals (19-22) were closing in toward the top of the division after knocking off Elizabethton and Princeton to start the week. The team then rode a three-game skid until the Cards took a road series against Kingsport, 2-1, to end the week on a positive note.
Sunday, July 28, at Howard Johnson Field - Cardinals 3, Elizabethton 1 - 12 Innings
Leonardo Mateo, called up from the Gulf Coast League, started and immediately played the role of hero. The shortstop knocked in two runs and went 2-for-5 to help the Cardinals register a victory against divisional rival Elizabethton.
J.J. Altobelli continued his hot streak from the previous week at third base by making a pair of key throws and knocking three hits and an RBI to lead the Cardinals offense.
While Johnson City scored the win, it didn't come easy. The game was tied 1-1 midway through as both clubs received staunch pitching performances.
Blake McKnight received the start and allowed the lone Elizabethton run in six innings. McKnight allowed six hits and struck out five batters to give way to a trio of Cardinals from the bullpen.
Norge Paredes and Fernando Baez combined for four innings of relief work out of the bullpen to set the way for Steve Sabatino. Sabatino (2-2) picked up the win after pitching two innings, allowing no hits and striking out six.
Monday, July 29, at Howard Johnson Field - Cardinals 2, Rays 1
On Monday night, Justin Ringo showed he is not just an multi-tooled infielder. Ringo hit his first home run of the season from the DH spot in the eighth inning to help the Cardinals pick up a close win against the Appalachian East League Princeton Rays.
Ronnierd Garcia, who reappeared in the infield at first baseman, had the other Cardinals RBI in the first inning.
The Rays outhit the Cardinals 7-5 but were held in check due to a good effort from the bullpen once again.
Alex Reyes started and pitched seven innings. Reyes had a near flawless game except for a run given up in the sixth inning, He allowed six hits and struck out eight. Zach Loraine (1-0) used his normal routine out of the bullpen to pick up his first victory of the season. Loraine worked two innings, allowing one hit while striking out three batters.
Tuesday, July 30, at Howard Johnson Field - Ray 8, Cardinals 7
Johnson City rallied late but the heart-racing contest at Howard Johnson Field went in favor of the Rays to snap the Cardinals two-game winning streak.
Left fielder Jhohan Acevedo made his Cardinals debut from the GCL and brought the fireworks with him, leading the Cardinals with four hits and an RBI.
Ronnierd Garcia had a good game defensively at third and led the Cardinals in run production with three runs batted in on three hits. Catcher Steve Bean was the only other Cardinal with multiple hits, adding a 2-for-4 outing. Bean had the game in pulse-pounding mode in the ninth inning. With two outs, Bean drove in a run to cut the lead to 8-7 but the Twins got Richy Pedroza to ground out to end the ballgame.
Luis Perdomo (1-4) started and took the loss. He tossed 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on five hits. Stalyn Lopez and Michael Holback combined for the final 6 1/3 innings, allowing a combined four hits with two runs.
Wednesday, July 31, at Howard Johnson Field - Rays 10, Cardinals 9
The catchers for the Cardinals know how to do more than just work with the pitchers. Steven Bean, who made the start behind the plate, and Rowan Wick, who played right field, and has been an occasional starting catcher, both homered in the contest. Still, it fell just short as the Rays scored another close win over Johnson City. ,p> Wick's lone hit proved to be the most productive. Along with first baseman Justin Ringo (2-for-5), the two led the Cardinals with three RBI. Centerfielder Jhohan Acevedo contributed three hits. ,p> Will Anderson (0-2) drew the short straw, picking up his second loss of the year. Anderson started and tossed three innings but was shellacked with five runs on seven hits.
Thursday, Aug. 1, at Hunter Wright Stadium - Mets 6, Cardinals 3
The Kingsport Mets were not going to let the Cardinals score an upset in their house.
A pair of unearned runs by the Mets fueled by Cardinals defensive miscues paved the way for Kingsport to score the first game of their three-game series.
Ronnierd Garcia and Jhohan Acevedo had RBIs while shortstop Leonardo Mateo drove in a run via base-on-balls to lead the offense.
The Mets outhit the Cardinals 9-8.
Dailyn Martinez (2-2) picked up the loss after scattering three runs on seven hits in five innings.
Steve Sabatino allowed the final three runs in his two innings of relief. Brandon Lee rounded out the game by pitching a scoreless frame.
Friday, Aug. 2, at Hunter Wright Stadium - Cardinals 11, Mets 3
The Cardinals erupted with a five-run sixth inning to snap a three-game skid and make a move toward the top of the Appalachian West Division.
The Cardinals had a big day at the plate - out-hitting the Mets 12-6.
First baseman Justin Ringo knocked his second home run of the week but centerfielder Vaughn Bryan had the big night. Bryan went 2-for-4 with an RBI including a triple.
Ringo and outfielder Jhohan Acevedo each had three RBI and two hits. J.J. Altobelli also tacked on two hits.
Saturday, Aug. 3, at Hunter Wright Stadium - Cardinals 5, Mets 3
The Cardinals squeezed by the Mets to end the week by taking the rubber match of the series.
First baseman Justin Ringo blasted his third home run of the week on a solo shot, while centerfielder Vaughn Bryan led the way again with two RBI.
Designated hitter Rowan Wick had the lone multi-hit game with two hits.
Zach Loraine picked up his second win of the week in relief after Blake McKnight started the contest and went seven innings. Loraine (2-0) pitched two innings and allowed two hits on two runs.
Fernando Baez picked up his first save of the year.
Justin Ringo - Ringo highlighted the week with seven hits, including three home runs, and eight RBI. Ringo has a .218 batting average with 19 RBI.
Jhohan Acevedo - After making his initial Johnson City appearance this week, Acevedo made his presence felt in his five games. Acevedo has 10 hits in the past five games with six RBI. He currently has a .455 batting average.
Steve Bean - Bean is starting to get the stick on the ball after battling through some early season injuries. The catcher had five hits with three RBI last week.
Kenny Peoples-Walls - Since July 30, Walls has had a hit in each of his five games.
Richy Pedroza - Pedroza made three appearances last week in the infield and hate some trouble behind the plate. Pedroza orchestrated just one hit.
Kyle Grieshaber - With multiple outfielders available, Grieshaber has been lost in the shuffle. In his three games last week, Grieshaber only had one hit.
Will Anderson - In his lone start this week, Anderson had trouble against the Rays. In the contest, Anderson allowed five runs on seven hits. He sits with an 0-2 record and a 6.39 ERA in seven games.
Second baseman Brett Wiley moved up the ranks to State College on Wednesday, July 31. The team also saw the addition of outfielder Jhohan Acevedo from the GCL the day before. Acevedo and shortstop Leandro Mateo have seen playing time due to the roster shakeup. Steve Bean has commanded the starting role behind the plate, allowing Rowan Wick to see a little more time in the outfield and at designated hitter.
Appalachian West Division
1) Greeneville Astros 27-15
2) Kingsport Mets 25-17
3) Elizabethton Twins 19-22
4) Johnson City Cardinals 19-22
5) Bristol White Sox 13-30
Appalachian East Division
1) Bluefield Blue Jays 29-13
2) Pulaski Mariners 28-15
3) Danville Braves 19-21
4) Burlington Royals 19-23
5) Princeton Rays 11-31
The Week Ahead
The Cardinals will look to keep up their winning ways with a Sunday contest against the Elizabethton Twins in Johnson City. The team will be off on Monday before traveling to Carter County to open a three-game series against the Twins Tuesday through Thursday. Johnson City will wrap up the week on Friday and Saturday with home games against Bluefield.
Follow Curtis Carden on Twitter: @ERecordSports
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