The K-Mets started the Appalachian League season hot, winning seven of their first eight games, but have since gone cold in the win column.
Kingsport (7-4) dropped its third straight game Sunday, an 8-5 loss to the Pulaski Yankees at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Pitching woes hit the K-Mets late in the game. Five Kingsport pitchers gave up only five hits, but they issued nine walks — eight over the final three innings — and hit a batter.
“It’s hard to win when you walk that many guys,” said Kingsport manager Sean Ratliff. “From the seventh inning on, it was just walk, walk, walk. You can’t win ballgames when you give that many up.”
AT THE PLATE
Hitting wasn’t the problem for Kingsport.
The K-Mets scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Luis Santana and Mark Vientos scored on a three-run home run from Anthony Dirocie and Domingo Martinez scored on a double from Kenny Hernandez.
But Pulaski (5-7) showed some power of its own as the game wore on. The Yankees had only five hits, but three were home runs.
Carlos Narvaez and Nelson Gomez had back-to-back solo homers off K-Mets starter Garrison Bryant in the top of the fifth. Gomez added a three-run smash in the top of the eighth off losing pitcher Marbin Montijo (0-2) to put the Yankees up for good at 7-5.
Kingsport’s Vientos finished 2-for-2 at the plate, and Guillermo Granadillo was 3-for-4.
BREAKING THE SLUMP
Though unhappy with his team’s losing streak, Ratliff said the K-Mets are tough enough to get back on the right track.
“You just keep doing your work. Keep coming in and working hard at the stuff you’re supposed to be doing every single day and not worrying about the past result,” he said. “Today was today, so once they walk out of the clubhouse we tell them to flush it and get rid of it and come back and ready to work tomorrow. We’ll bounce right back.
“I don’t see this becoming a pattern. We’re too good for that. We just keep getting our work in and we’ll turn it around.”
TAKING THE ‘W’
Jhonatan Munoz (1-0) picked up the win on the mound for the Yankees, throwing four innings, giving up one run on two hits with two strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter.
The teams meet again Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Hunter Wright Stadium. The K-Mets will be wearing a special jersey for Military Monday.