KINGSPORT — Starting pitcher Chris Flexen proved to be the cure for a tired Kingsport Mets bullpen Tuesday evening at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Flexen pitched a complete game, allowing only two hits in the Mets’ 1-0 victory over Burlington. The right-hander recorded his second 11-strikeout game of the season in picking up his seventh win.
“I’ve been sick the past couple of days and wanted to battle it out. Today I had a good feel and the catcher and I were on the same page,” said Flexen, who also fanned 11 in an 8-1 win over Princeton in July.
“One run happened to be enough and the defense held up.”
Kingsport’s lone run came in the second inning. Amed Rosario’s RBI double scored Pedro Perez, who had led off the inning with a single.
Things did get a little tense for Kingsport in the ninth. With one out, the Royals’ Alfredo Escalera singled, took second on a stolen base and proceeded to third on a throwing error.
After the single, K-Mets manager Jose Leger journeyed to the mound for a quick conference.
“His pitch count was up, we had a reliever ready and after the hit we wanted to settle him down and look for the double play,” Leger said of Flexen.
Flexen didn’t get the double play, but he induced a flyout by Tyler Chism then whiffed Bobby Brown for his 11th strikeout.
Flexen gave the bullpen a needed rest following a spate of unsteady starting pitching by Kingsport.
“Every time I go out and try to do my best. Whether I go five innings or a complete game, I’m out there to compete,” he said.
Flexen (7-1) became the first seven-game winner in the Appalachian League and the only pitcher with two complete games.
The K-Mets’ just-concluded nine-game homestand produced a 4-5 mark. More importantly, Kingsport (33-25) pulled within a half-game of West Division-leading Greeneville following the Astros’ 10-8 loss to Elizabethton on Tuesday night.
The Mets go to Pulaski tonight to start a three-game series. They return home next Wednesday to host Bluefield for a three-game series that closes out the regular season.