After winning three of their last six games on the road, the K-Mets fell 9-7 to Greeneville on Sunday night at Hunter Wright Stadium.
The start was delayed an hour and 32 minutes because of rain, and the last out wasn’t collected until after midnight.
Joseph Bonfe didn’t go quietly for Kingsport, trying to get a comeback rally started with his ninth-inning double. Bonfe, who was left stranded, finished 2-for-4 and was hit by a pitch. Alonzo Harris had a solo shot for the home team, while John Semel collected a pair of hits.
Greeneville first-round draft pick Jiovanni Mier had two hits, including a ninth-inning triple that gave the Astros the lead for good.
Greeneville initiated scoring in the first inning, getting a leadoff double from Jose Altuve, who stole third and went on to score on a balk by K-Mets starter Armando Rodriguez.
The Astros added two more runs in the top of the third. Mier rapped into an error at third, scoring one out later on J.D. Martinez’s double. A bunt single by Aaron Bray and a walk to Frank Almonte loaded the bags and Martinez scored on Bubby Williams’ sacrifice fly to right field.
Kingsport tightened the game in the bottom frame, getting a leadoff single from Semel, who stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch by Greeneville starter Jose Cisnero. Harris added a solo homer over right to cut the Astros’ lead to 3-2.
Kingsport took the initiative in the fifth. Tyler Howe opened by taking his seventh hit by pitch of the season off Astros reliever David Martinez, who then walked Harris. Darrell Ceciliani knocked into an error at second to load the bases and Howe scored on a wild pitch. Bonfe kept the bags loaded with a fielder’s choice that kept Greeneville preoccupied with the runner at third.
Jeff Flagg singled to left-center, plating Harris and Ceciliani. R.J. Harris rapped Flagg into a forceout at second, but Bonfe made it across to put the K-Mets up 6-3.
Kingsport gave up ground in the top of the sixth when Greeneville got RBI doubles by Altuve and Martinez off K-Mets reliever Luis Rojas.
Southpaw Julio Bello took the hill with one out, inheriting a 6-5 lead and runners at second and third. Bello gave up a walk to pinch-hitter Oscar Figueroa but got off the hook when Frank Almonte grounded to Bonfe, who made the unassisted tag at third and turned the double play with his sharp throw to Flagg at first.
Kingsport put runners on the corners in the bottom of the sixth, bringing out reliever Garrett Bullett. Semel tried to score on a wild pitch by Bullett, but was nailed for the third out as the pitcher successfully covered the plate.
In the seventh, Bello was touched with a ground-rule double by Williams and a single by Nathan Metroka, with Williams scoring the tying run on Grant Hogue’s double to left. After a walk to Altuve to load the bases, Bello yielded the mound to Sam Taveras. The righty struck out Martinez but walked third-round draft pick Jonathan Meyer to give the Astros the 7-6 edge.
The K-Mets tied it at 7 in the seventh when Ceciliani led off with an infield single and Bonfe followed with a base hit to left. Ceciliani tagged up and got to third on Flagg’s fly ball to right, ultimately scoring when R.J. Harris swung into two bang-bang errors by Meyer at third. The hook came out for Bullett after a walk to John Freeman, but reliever Daniel Sarisky left it locked up after Semel hit into a double play.
Greeneville finally got what it needed in the top of the ninth. One out in, Altuve got on base with a single and scored the go-ahead run on a triple by Mier, who made it 9-7 when the throw by Gered Mochizuki at cutoff went over the head of Bonfe at third.