Kingsport (32-32) could have clinched a playoff spot with a win and a Bristol loss, but that didn’t happen. The Pirates and Johnson City Cardinals also lost Saturday, however, meaning a win Sunday against the Royals would give the K-Mets the second spot in the West Division playoffs behind division champion Elizabethton.
The K-Mets started strong Saturday. Mark Vientos recorded his 52nd RBI when he singled to center field to score Yoel Romero in the first inning.
But then the wheels fell off.
The Royals (23-41) exploded with a seven-run sixth that included Michael Emodi’s three-run home run to center field.
The K-Mets managed eight hits, none for extra bases, and struck out 10 times. The Royals racked up 13 hits against just four strikeouts.
Nate Peden (2-5) suffered the loss after going 5 1/3 innings and giving up six earned runs. Burlington’s Josh Dye (1-3) picked up his first win of the season by pitching five complete innings and allowing four hits and no earned runs.
The K-Mets and Royals close out their series Sunday, starting at 4 p.m. Kingsport’s final series of the regular season opens Monday on the road at Johnson City.