Pulaski relinquishes 3-run lead in the fifth
By CHEYNE REITER
The Pulaski Mariners were defeated by the Kingsport Mets Tuesday night at Calfee Park, losing 5-3 after taking an early 3-0 lead.
The two teams had split the first two games of the series, but it was the Mets who grabbed the rubber game behind a three-run fifth inning against M’s starter Ramire Cleto.
Pulaski jumped in front with a run in the first. Isaiah Yates singled with one away and out later, Kristian Brito singled sharply to left. Jesus Ugueto followed with a RBI single high off the wall in right.
The Mariners added to their lead in the third. After a Tyler Smith one-out single, Kristian Brito hit his 10th home run of the year, a 2-run shot to right extending Pulaski’s lead to three.
That was all the scoring for the M’s, however, against Mets’ starter Yoan Gonzalez and two relievers, Alberto Baldonado and Robert Coles.
The three combined to shut out Pulaski the rest of the way and finally saw their offense come to life in the fifth.
Kingsport had a runner at second with two outs and strung together three straight hits to tie the game. Yeixon Ruiz hit a RBI double to make it 3-1 and scored moments later on a Jeff McNeil RBI single. McNiel advanced to second on Wilton Martinez’ throw to the plate and eventually came it to score on Victor Cruzado’s RBI single.
Cleto was finished after the fifth, allowing three runs (all earned) on eight hits. He struck out one and took a no-decision.
The Mets took their first lead of the night in the sixth and did so against left-handed reliever Leoncio Munoz. Munoz entered with a streak of 10 straight scoreless appearances and a 1.27 ERA, along with a 7-0 record.
With one out, Jeff Diehl doubled into the left field corner and came in to score on Pedro Perez’ RBI triple off the wall in left center.
Kingsport added another run off of Munoz in the seventh. With two outs, Jeyckol De Leon ripped a 3-2 fastball into left for a RBI single, scoring Jeff McNeil who had doubled.
Pulaski went quietly in the bottom of the ninth. Aaron Barbosa drew a one-out walk, but Coles struck out the side to shut the door on the M’s.
Munoz (7-1) suffered his first loss of the season while Gonzalez (4-4) got the win for the Mets.
Kingsport (37-27) pounded out 13 hits to the Mariners’ seven, with four of them being for extra-bases.
Brito was the lone Mariner with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a single and home run. He leads the Mariners with 38 RBIs and is now second on the team in homers.
The Mariners (40-25) remain a ½ game back of Bluefield in the Appy East. The Blue Jays lost another one-run game in Tennessee, falling 2-1 to the Greeneville Astros.
Pulaski hits the road to wrap up the regular season with a three-game series beginning tomorrow in Elizabethton, TN. Jose Flores (6-0, 2.73) will start for the Mariners – first pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
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