July 16, 2008

MiLB ... Johnson City Cardinals edge Kingston Mets

KINGSPORT, TN--The St. Louis Cardinals' rookie league affiliate Johnson City Cardinals have moved into a tie for fourth place with the Kingston Mets in the Appalachian West after edging them yesterday, 5-4, at Hunter Wright Stadium.

The Cards are only a half-game out of second place in a five-team division in which four teams are no more than a half-game apart. The Cards are six games out of first place.

JC took the lead four different times, Kingston answering twice. The rookie league Cards scored in four different innings.

Matthew North (2-0) earned the win, pitching five complete. He allowed seven hits and three runs, all earned. North walked no one while striking out seven. The fifth inning was a mixed bag for North, who struggled in several ways, but may have just learned a lot from the process.

In the fifth, and in no particular order, North gave up two singles and double, struck out one hitter swinging and one looking, threw two wild pitches during one at-bat, allowing a Mets' base runner to advance to third, then score, balked a base runner from first to second, and got one pop-out. By the end of the inning, North and the Cards had somehow survived enough of the adventure to carry on with a 3-3 tie.

After the Cards retook the lead on an Edgar Lara solo shot in the sixth, Jon Bravo relieved North to start the Mets portion of the frame. Bravo went the rest of the game, giving up one run on four hits. He walked only one while striking out six, earning his first save.

Besides the Lara home run, the JC offense supported their pitchers with just enough runs to win. Second baseman Brett Lilley had a great day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Liiley is batting .309.

Travis Mitchell contributed, scoring two runs on a 2-for-3 day.

Curt Smith went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Nico Vasquez added a double, his ninth this season.

Johnson City was a band of thieves in this game as well, second base swiped the most, by Alex Castellanos (1), Mitchell (4), and Vasquez (3). Jarred Bogany stole home (1).

Johnson City scored five runs on nine hits and no errors.

Kingston scored four runs on eleven hits with one error.

Whatcha done for me lately? So far this season, first baseman Curt Smith leads the JC Cards in hitting with a .324 average. He also has the best slugging percentage at .574.

Matt Rigoli has the best On-base percentage at .457.

Shortstop Guillermo Toribio has eight steals, tops on the squad so far.

Home run leaders with four each are Alex Castellanos and Curt Smith.

Castellanos also leads in triples with two.

As for doubles, Nico Vasquez has tallied the most with nine.

Vasquez also leads the team in games (25), ABs (91), runs (17), and hits (29).

North has pitched the most innings at 25.2.

Bravo has is tops in Ks with 32.

Leading in ERA with a minimum of 10 IP is Jorge Rondon at 2.19.