Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2014 Week 8

The Johnson City Cardinals used solid pitching and timely hitting to rattle off six straight wins last week to make a surge in the Appalachian West Division. Closer Ismael Brito has eight saves.

The Johnson City Cardinals (25-22) made their presence felt last week highlighted by stealing three games against the West Division-leading Elizabethton Twins as part of a 6-0 week.

Sunday, August 3 at Joe O'Brien Field - Johnson City 2, Elizabethton 0

Cardinals starting pitcher Julio Mateo went the distance to record his first win of the season in shutout form. Ismael Brito picked up save No. 7 in the seven inning affair against the league rival Twins.

Catcher Jose Gomez and left fielder Cole Lankford each scampered home for Johnson City's runs while Jesus Ustariz tacked on the lone RBI.

Monday, August 4 at Joe O'Brien Field - Johnson City 4, Elizabethton 2

Casey Grayson cranked a three-run blast in the sixth to give Johnson City the needed ammunition to take game two over the Twins.

Third baseman Chris Rivera brought production at the plate with three hits. Center fielder Blake Drake (RBI) and Casey Turgeon each added two base knocks in the victory.

Juan Perez (4-3) got the win while Juan Caballero recorded his third save of the season.

Tuesday, August 5 at Joe O'Brien Field - Johnson City 3, Elizabethton 2

Drake came through in the clutch with a game-winning sacrifice fly in extra innings to power the Cardinals to the sweep.

Anderson Gerdel, known for his closing, picked up the win in two innings of relief for his second win of the season. Gerdel entered the contest in the eighth. Caballero closed out the 10th to score back-to-back saves.

Rivera smacked his third home run of the season in the sixth, a solo shot. Left fielder Anthony Ray and catcher Jose Gomez tacked on two hits each to pace Johnson City's offense.

Thursday, August 7 at Howard Johnson Field - Johnson City 5, Burlington 2

The win streak for the week continued at four with the Cardinals scoring a game one victory against Burlington.

Johnson City had nine hits but rode a solid performance from starter Dailyn Martinez (4-2). Martinez (6 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 6 K) tossed five scoreless.

Shortstop Oscar Mercado and outfielder Blake Drake each roped in two hits with an RBI each. Casey Grayson also added a run-scoring hit.

Friday, August 8 at Howard Johnson Field - Johnson City 6, Burlington 5

The Cardinals were out-hit and had two errors but a 'never-say-die' attitude prevailed. Johnson City used a three-run eighth inning to register the come-from-behind-win.

Blake Drake and Oscar Mercado combined for three RBI from home runs but Casey Turgeon's go-ahead score in the eighth stole the show and gave the Cardinals the win.

Turgeon finished 3-for-5 at the plate. Casey Grayson went 2-for-2 while Oscar Mercado and outfielder Devante Lacy each scored a run.

Saturday, August 9 at Howard Johnson Field - Johnson City 6, Burlington 3

In a rain-shortened affair, Johnson City kept the win streak going by getting their second series sweep of the week.

Outfielder Carlos Torres went yard in the second inning with a three-run home run for the needed run support early.

Casey Grayson and Chris Rivera each went 2-for-3 to spearhead the win.

Ismael Brito recorded his first victory of the season with 2 1/3 innings worth of work, holding the Royals hitless.

JC Notes

* Casey Turgeon is second in the league with a batting average of .345

* Blake Drake took control of the home run race for the Cardinals, currently at four on the year. Turgeon, Casey Grayson and Chris Rivera all sit at three.

* The Cardinals lead the league with 18 saves from their bullpen.

Roster Transaction

Lefty Jordan DeLorenzo was moved to the Gulf Coast League on Sunday, Aug. 10.

Who's Hot

Ismael Brito - Brito leads the team with eight saves and has a 2.42 ERA. Brito recorded two saves last week to go with one win on the year.

Chris Rivera - In six games last week, the Cardinals infielder knocked eight hits with three RBI.

Anderson Gerdel - Gerdel has a 0.96 ERA after rejoining Johnson City and recorded a pair of wins, unfamiliar territory for last season's primary closer for the club. Gerdel has a 3-0 record.

Blake Drake - While the outfielder didn't boast as many hits as Rivera last week (seven), Drake was a key offensive cog with six RBI.

Who's Cold

Cole Lankford - The power hitter hit a bit of a snag last week with just four hits and four strikeouts. Lankford's batting average dipped down to .233.

Jose Gomez - With a pair of Cardinals seeing time behind home plate, Jose Gomez has taken a back seat in the shuffle to Charlie Neil. Gomez had a pair of hits early in the week but Neil added a hit in each of the final three games of the week.

Christian Muscarello - The recently-signed infielder made two appearances and went hitless while scoring once.

Kender Villegas - Villegas was touched for three hits and a run during his only mound appearance last week. Villegas has a 3.72 ERA with a 1-2 record on the season.

Appalachian League Standings

West Division

1) Elizabethton Twins 28-21
2) Greeneville Astros 25-22
3) Johnson City Cardinals 25-22
4) Kingsport Mets 24-25
5) Bristol Pirates 14-34

East Division

1) Danville Braves 27-20
2) Princeton Rays 27-20
3) Pulaski Mariners 26-20
4) Bluefield Blue Jays 22-27
5) Burlington Royals 20-27

The Week Ahead

Johnson City will look to continue their steady climb up the Appy League ladder by kicking off the week with a three-game home stand against the K-Mets. A road trip to Pulaski awaits the Cardinals Wednesday-Friday before they end the week back at Joe O'Brien Field with a single game against the league-leading Twins.

Follow Curtis Carden on Twitter @CurtisCarden_ER.

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