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K-Mets rally but come up a run short against Johnson City

STEVE WILMOTH, TriCitiesSports.com • Jul 16, 2017 at 9:20 PM

KINGSPORT — A ninth inning rally fell a run short as the Johnson City Cardinals edged the Kingsport Mets 3-2 Sunday afternoon at Hunter Wright Stadium, evening the Appy League Western Division series at one game apiece.

The Cardinals picked up single runs in the fifth, seventh and ninth innings before the K-Mets began their last inning rally.

Jeremy Vasquez led off with a double and scored on Juan Uriarte’s single that also chased Cardinal reliever Evan Guillory in favor of Jacob Patterson.

Anthony Dirocie greeted Patterson with a two-bagger, putting two Mets in scoring position with nobody out. But Patterson fanned Gavin Garay on a third-strike foul tip for the first out, and Raphael Giadu grounded out to shortstop as Uriarte scored to make it 3-2.

However, there would be no back-to-back heroics for Angel Manzanarez, who lined out to second for the final out. Manzanarez blasted a walk-off homer to give the Mets a wild 13-12 win over the Cardinals on Saturday night.

Johnson City starter Jacob Schlesener (1-1) picked up his first victory of the season, tossing five innings of three-hit baseball. The 2015 12th-rounder from Rogersville, Missouri, struck out 10 and walked two.

Patterson, a former Texas Tech Red Raider, picked up his fifth save of the season, tops in the Appy League, and increased his scoreless innings streak to start the season to 10 1/3 innings.

Irvin Lopez went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Cardinals (10-14). Starling Balbuena was also 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Chase Pinder drove in a run, and Carlos Talavera scored twice for Johnson City.

Kingsport (9-13) got two hits from Dirocie. Hansel Moreno started his second straight game at shortstop for the K-Mets after being called up from the Gulf Coast League when Edgardo Fermin was promoted to Brooklyn.

The teams play the rubber game of the series Monday night at 6:30 p.m.

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