Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2014 Week 5

With four hits and five RBI, Cole Lankford spearheaded a two-game win streak by the second-place Cardinals.

After a rough 1-6 week prior, the Johnson City Cardinals (14-13) are within striking distance of the first-place Elizabethton Twins. The Cardinals logged three wins last week to cut the Twins' lead in the Appalachian West Division to two and a half games.

Sunday, July 13, at Burlington Athletic Center - Burlington 10, Johnson City 1

The Cardinals were unable to get anything going during a blowout loss to the Royals on Sunday.

Jordan DeLorenzo (0-2) took the loss, as the starter lasted 4 1/3 innings but gave up four runs, three earned. The only offensive production came from left fielder Cole Lankford's RBI in the fourth. Infielders Casey Turgeon and Casey Grayson turned in two hits each.

Monday, July 14, at Burlington Athletic Center - Johnson City 9, Burlington 4

A wild fourth inning that included the ejection of the Royals skipper helped the Cardinals snap their losing streak.

Shortstop Oscar Mercado scored three times and tacked on two hits with two RBI to lead the Johnson City attack.

Dailyn Martinez (2-1) appeared back in the win column despite allowing 10 hits and all four runs through five innings and striking out two. Jonathan Escudero provided solid relief for two innings and Ismael Brito put the icing on the cake in the final two scoreless frames, picking up his third save.

Wednesday, July 16, at Calfee Park- Pulaski 6, Johnson City 4

Oscar Mercado, Casey Grayson and Jesus Ustariz all drove in one run but the Mariners were able to hold serve and defend their home turf.

Cole Lankford scored twice and added two hits to lead the offense.

Kevin Carlow recorded the loss in relief after being charged with five runs in one-third of an inning. Ian McKinney started and lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs.

Thursday, July 17, at Calfee Park - Johnson City 6, Pulaski 5

The second straight game was close, but the tide eventually turned for the Birds from Washington County. Johnson City benefitted from a six-run fourth inning and Sasha Kuebel made his debut for the Cardinals in relief and picked up for his first win.

Left fielder Anthony Ray and third baseman Cole Lankford drove in two runs each while catcher Jose Godoy and outfielder Carlos Torres both had run-scoring hits. Jesus Ustariz and Lankford led the way with two hits each.

Kuebel worked three innings of relief, allowing three hits and two runs and striking out six. Closer Ismael Brito brought down the hammer over the final two innings for his fourth save.

Friday, July 18, against Pulaski - postponed due to inclement weather

The final game of the series between Pulaski and Johnson City will be played on August 13. The game will be a doubleheader against the Mariners with game one set at 6 p.m.

Saturday, July 19, at Howard Johnson Field - Johnson City 5, Bristol 4

Cole Lankford made his one hit count, a three-run blast to cap off a five-run third inning to power the Cards to an opening win against the BriPirates.

Third baseman Chris Rivera added the other two runs with a 2-for-4 effort including a double in the third. To add to the double trouble, infielder Casey Turgeon tacked on a two-bagger. Jesus Ustariz (2-for-4) and Casey Grayson accounted for three hits though the Cardinals were outhit by the Pirates, 12-7.

Juan Caballero picked up his second save and Josh Wirsu (1-1) scored his first win of the year after entering the game in the fifth. Starter Matt Pearce took a no-decision through four innings.

Who’s Hot

Cole Lankford - Lankford added a home run to cap off a key stretch of three consecutive strong performances. In the trio, Lankford combined for five hits and five runs.

Ismael Brito - In his two appearances last week, Brito combined for four innings and two hits with a combined seven strikeouts. The lefty has a 1.42 ERA with two saves.

Jose Godoy - The Cardinals catcher continues to shine in part-time action. Godoy scored twice in his three games played and added three hits. The 19-year-old has a .358 batting average.

Sasha Kuebel - While it was his first appearance with Johnson City, the left-hander made a great impression by throwing three innings and getting the win on Thursday.

Who’s Cold

Chris Rivera - The infielder has been inconsistent at times and went 3-for-22 (.136) last week. On the season, Rivera is hitting .278.

Jordan DeLorenzo - The past two starts for DeLorenzo haven't been too kind for the lefty, both losses. He allowed a total of 11 runs, seven earned, in 8 1/3 innings, bringing his season ERA up to 4.11.

Carlos Torres - The Cardinals outfielder made just two appearances last week with only one hit.

Kevin Carlow - Carlow has been on the wrong side of things this season it seems, including a loss last week. Over his first nine professional appearances, the right-handed reliever has the second-highest ERA on the team at 11.68.

JC Notes

* Infielder Casey Turgeon boasts the highest batting average on the Cardinals (.395) and leads the team in hits with 32.

* Casey Grayson leads the club in RBI with 18 with catcher Jose Godoy closing in at 16.

* The week's offensive explosion has moved the Cardinals up to fourth in the league in team batting average (.263).

Roster Transactions

On Tuesday, pitcher Sasha Kuebel was called up to Johnson City from the Gulf Coast League.

Appalachian League Standings

Appy League West
1) Elizabethton Twins 17-11
2) Johnson City 14-13
3) Greeneville Astros 14-14
4) Kingsport Mets 12-15
5) Bristol Pirates 8-18

Appy League East
1) Danville Braves 16-12
2) Bluefield Blue Jays 16-13
3) Princeton Rays 15-13
4) Pulaski Mariners 14-14
5) Burlington Royals 12-15

The Week Ahead

Johnson City will wrap up its home stand against Bristol on Monday before hitting the trail against Princeton for three games. The focus will be on closing the gap in the West Division to end the week as Johnson City hosts first-place Elizabethton.

Follow Curtis Carden on Twitter @CurtisCarden_ER.

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