Kingsport Mets starter Carlos Gomez did his part in a two-hit shutout of Greeneville, and the K-Mets prevailed 3-0 in the first game of Sunday’s Appalachian League doubleheader with the Astros at Hunter Wright Stadium.
In the nightcap, Victor Cruzado went 2-for-4 with a double and a home run in the K-Mets’ 4-1 win.
Both were seven-inning games, the second show making up for a July 3 rainout.
“With seven innings, you do change your plans a little bit,” said K-Mets manager Jose Leger. “But at the same time, it’s like all games. It’s all about scoring early and playing good defense.”
Gomez, a 6-foot-1 right-hander, picked up his first decision for the K-Mets at Bristol on June 23.
Sunday’s opener got off to a seemingly shaky start for the young Venezuelan when Astros leadoff man Brett Phillips greeted him with a double.
One out later, Kingsport third baseman Pedro Perez erased a potential Greeneville run, putting a glove on Darwin Rivera’s grounder and gunning down Phillips at the plate with a heads-up throw.
After that, Gomez didn’t give up another hit until Rivera’s stranded single in the fourth. Kingsport’s starter also got a little defensive help in the fifth frame thanks to shortstop Amed Rosario’s self-turned double play.
“Carlos came in mixing up his changeup. That was his big pitch tonight, as it has been,” Leger said.
“Locating his fastball was his only issue, but it didn’t seem to be an issue with a (bad) result.”
Gomez got staked to an early lead thanks to a sudden Kingsport surge in the bottom of the first inning.
Leadoff hitter Champ Stuart absorbed a plunk from Greeneville starter Enderson Franco (1-2). Rosario brought the home fans to their feet with an RBI triple bounced off the Blue Monster in center.
It could have been a huge inning for Kingsport. Cruzado plated Rosario with a single. A walk to Jeyckol De Leon and a single by Jon Leroux loaded the bags.
Impressively, Franco collected his composure and cooked up two consecutive strikeouts and a popup to diminish the damage.
Gomez didn’t get into any terribly tight spots until consecutive walks to Jack Mayfield and Phillips in the sixth inning got the bullpen stirring.
Alberto Baldonado, who came on with two outs and runners at second and third, walked Chase McDonald to load the bases. The tension didn’t last long. Baldonado struck out Bobby Borchering for his first hold of the season.
The K-Mets added another run in the bottom of the sixth when Cruzado knocked into an error at third that scored Yeixon Ruiz. Closer Ricardo Jacquez pitched three up, three down in the top of the seventh for his second save.
Chris Flexen (1-1) brought his record level with a win in the second game. McDonald’s solo homer was the only earned run Flexen allowed over his six-inning shift. Robert Coles came on in the seventh for his second save of the season.
Jeff McNeil had two hits for Kingsport. Cristian Moronta led the Astros, going 2-for-2 with a double.