Bluefield Daily Telegraph
For most of Tuesday evening, the Bluefield Blue Jays looked well on their way to ending a four-game losing streak.
Then came the final two innings at Bowen Field.
The Johnson City Cardinals scored seven unanswered runs, erasing a 2-0 lead by the home team and taking a 7-2 victory and a sweep of the three-game series.
Taking on a game-time temperature of 87 degrees, Bluefield starting pitcher Alberto Tirado allowed the Cards just three singles in his three innings on the mound, and reliever Jario Labourt and the Jays defense retired 10 of the next 12 Johnson City batters.
The Blue Jays got to Cardinals starter Blake McKnight right away in the fifth inning. Dawel Lugo and Jorge Saez singled, and Matt Dean laid down a sacrifice bunt to set the stage for Jesus Gonzalez. He singled into right field, bringing Lugo home with the game’s first run.
Right fielder Brian Vigo fired to his catcher, Rowan Wick, to catch Saez trying to reach home on the play.
D.J. Jones produced a 2-0 Bluefield lead in the seventh inning. He singled, got to third on an error, and came home on a base hit to left by Alexis Maldonado.
Johnson City’s Bryan led off the eighth with his first home run of the year, over left field, to begin the rally. Two singles and a sacrifice bunt later, Richy Pedroza ran home to tie the game when Wick hit into a fielder’s choice. Justin Wingo’s single to right plated Kenneth Peoples-Walls for the Cards’ first lead.
In the final inning, Ronnierd Garcia, Wick and Ringo each hit RBI singles to right field, and in the bottom half, all three Bluefield batters were retired to close it out.
Lugo led Bluefield at bat, going 2 for 4. Pedroza and Peoples-Walls were both 3 for 4 for the Cardinals, who had 13 hits. Wingo drove in three runs. Reliever Michael Holback earned his first win of the season. Labourt was saddled with the loss.
The Blue Jays hit the road to Burlington, N.C., today for a three-day series with the Royals, and will not return to Bowen Field until July 17, to greet the Royals again in their last visit of the year.
At Bowen Field
Johnson City.......000 000 043 — 7 13 1
Bluefield..............000 010 100 — 2 8 2
Blake McKnight, Nick Lomascolo (6), Michael Holback (7) and Rowan Wick. Alberto Tirado, Jairo Labourt (4), Brett Barber (8), Francisco Gracesqui (9) and Jorge Saez. WP - Holback (1-0). LP - Labourt (1-1). HR - JC, Bryan, 8th, 0 on. Att - 727.