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Harris, bullpen seal K-Mets' series victory over Twins

Jack Goodson • Jul 11, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Alonzo Harris set the tone from the leadoff spot. The rest of the Kingsport Mets followed accordingly.

Harris finished 3-for-5, including a solo home run in the fourth inning, and the K-Mets closed the workweek with a series- clinching 10-9 victory over the Elizabethton Twins at Hunter Wright Stadium on Friday night.

“This is a big boost,” K-Mets manager Mike DiFelice said. “To come out after a tough loss last night and get a win is huge.

“If you win a lot of series, you’re going to end up with more wins than losses. We’re trying to take this season one inning, one game and one series at a time.”

The upward-moving Mets (6-12) managed to stop their division rivals, who lead the Appalachian League’s West Division at 14-4, for a second time in three nights via timely hitting and solid defense.

Again, the bullpen bent — but, this time, did not break.

Starter Johnathan White (1-2) got the win, surrendering six hits and four earned runs over five innings. Relievers Oscar Melendez and Luis Rojas wobbled before Travis Babin closed the door on Elizabethton with 1 2-3 innings of one-hit ball.

Babin, whose 2.89 ERA is third on the K-Mets’ roster, earned his third save of the season.

“Our pitching has done a better job over the last few days of at least minimizing the mistakes,” DiFelice said. “We’re making opponents earn it. We’re not giving up a lot of walks and stuff.

“Our pitching still needs to step up, though. There’s no secret about it.”

The Mets trailed until the fifth inning, when a seven-run barrage gave them a shock 8-4 lead. Up to that point, Kingsport had recorded just one hit: Harris’ homer.

Ryan Mollica’s rasping three-run double that clipped the top of the right-field fence highlighted the frame, which also included a pair of hit batsmen and a bases-loaded walk.

Elizabethton trimmed the lead to 10-6 thanks to a pair of runs in the seventh before adding three more in the eighth. Babin, though, managed to seal the series win in the ninth — his only hiccup a hit batter.

“I’m looking at the three columns (on the scoreboard), and we beat them in two of the three,” said Twins manager Ray Smith, who lost four players to promotion before Friday’s game.

“It’s no big mystery what happened tonight. Our bullpen is trying to find itself. There are some job openings there.”

Mollica joined Harris with three hits and three RBIs. Harris scored thrice. Tyler Howe closed with a double and a run scored.

For the Twins, catcher Tobias Streich went 3-for-3 with an RBI and three runs. Anderson Hidalgo scored twice to go with his two hits.

A day after collecting four hits, his last — in the 10th inning — earning Elizabethton a comeback win, Derek McCallum was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

“This (win) proves that if we go out there and do the little things then we can compete against anyone,” DiFelice said. “This is a great boost, but tomorrow is a bigger day. We’ve got another team coming in and, for us, we need to continue to work hard and do what we need to do to win.”

The K-Mets open a three-game series with Bristol this evening at Hunter Wright. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.

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