The Johnson City Cardinals (19-21) have ground to make up in the Appalachian West Division. Johnson City dropped their final two games of the week and sit four back of the league-leading Twins.
Sunday, July 27 - Elizabethton vs Johnson City
Suspended due to rain. To be completed on Sunday, August 3.
Monday, July 28 at Howard Johnson Field - Johnson City 2, Bluefield 1
Second baseman Casey Turgeon did the damage with both scores, including a solo home run in the fifth to open the series against the Blue Jays in style.
Tuesday, July 29 at Howard Johnson Field - Bluefield 2, Johnson City 1
Turgeon brought down the hammer once again but an overall lack of offensive production led to a narrow loss. Turgeon had a 2-for-3 effort with a run-scoring double. Infielder Casey Grayson tacked on two hits.
Hard-luck losing pitcher Juan Perez went to 3-3 on the year after six innings of work.
Wednesday, July 30 at Howard Johnson Field - Bluefield 13, Johnson City 6
Grayson contributed three RBI, but it wasn't enough to slow the offensive onslaught by the Jays.
Thursday, July 31 at Pioneer Park - Johnson City 4, Greeneville 1
Center fielder Blake Drake (2-for-5) struck out three times but made his appearance in the fifth count. Drake went yard with a solo shot, his third of the season, to spearhead a three-run inning to seal the win in Greene County.
Matt Pearce (2-3) made the start and nabbed the win through five innings of work, allowing one run on five hits. Jonathan Escudero recorded his first save of the year.
Friday, August 1 at Pioneer Park - Greeneville 4, Johnson City 1
Four runs in the second inning would be all that the Astros needed to keep the chase toward the top of the West Division.
Right fielder Carlos Torres scored an unearned run in the sixth for the only Johnson City score. The Cardinals outhit Greeneville 5 to 4, but Astros' timely hits proved to be the difference.
Starter Dailyn Martinez (3-2) recorded the loss, after lasting just three innings and giving up four runs. Johnson City used five pitchers on the night.
Saturday, August 2 at Pioneer Park - Greeneville 2, Johnson City 1
Greeneville used a two-run seventh inning to come away with a second straight win in the series.
Kender Villegas took his second loss of the season, and second straight during the week, while Anderson Gerdel blew his save opportunity. Starter Landon Beck tossed five solid innings in the no-decision (5 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K).
Casey Turgeon - Turgeon was the source of offense last week. In five games, the rookie had seven hits and five RBI. For the season, Turgeon has a .357 average with 17 RBI.
Jonathan Escudero - The bullpen member strutted his stuff last week with his first win and save of the year.
Casey Grayson - Grayson had seven hits in six games including a pair of multi-hit nights, joining the other Casey as an offensive catalyst.
Anderson Gerdel - After coming back down from State College last week, Gerdel continued his solid results from earlier in the year by securing his fourth save.
Kender Villegas - It was a rough week at the office for the Cards' bullpen member with two losses in relief on four earned runs in four innings.
Anthony Ray - The Cardinals outfielder went hitless in his three appearances last week, going 0-for-7. Ray is coming off a July in which he batted just .160 (8-for-50).
Juan Perez - After winning three in a row, Perez has dropped his past three decisions, though he pitched poorly in just one of the four outings. Perez still has a 3.34 ERA on the year.
Oscar Mercado - Mercado has 15 stolen bases on the year but hasn't had the chance to pad that stat recently. Last week, the shortstop had just one hit in five games, going a dismal 1-for-20.
Rookie left-hander Ian McKinney was moved up to the State College Spikes on July 28.
The Johnson City Cardinals received a trio of athletes near the end of the month. Infielder Christian Muscarello was signed via free agency. Right-handed pitcher Julio Mateo was called up from the Gulf Coast League Cardinals while reliever Anderson Gerdel was moved back down to Johnson City from State College.
Appalachian League Standings
1) Elizabethton Twins 25-17
2) Greeneville Astros 23-20
3) Kingsport Mets 20-22
4) Johnson City Cardinals 19-21
5) Bristol Pirates 12-29
1) Danville Braves 25-16
2) Pulaski Mariners 23-19
3) Princeton Ray 22-19
4) Bluefield Blue Jays 20-23
5) Burlington Royals 19-22
The Week Ahead
Johnson City opens a pivotal three-game road series against division-leading Elizabethton Sunday. After a break from play on Wednesday, the Cardinals end the week with a trio of home games against Burlington.
Follow Curtis Carden on Twitter @CurtisCarden_ER.
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