Yankees use 9th-inning rally to take series

By COTHRAN TOGNA
PULASKI YANKEES

The Yankees (26-12) used a ninth-inning rally to beat the Johnson City Cardinals (19-21) by a 6-5 score on Tuesday night. The pinstripers trailed 5-4 going into the bottom of the ninth, but Eric Wagaman homered to tie the game and Charles Vazquez scored the winning run on a wild pitch.

“He threw it right down the middle, and I was able to put a good swing on it,” said Wagaman of his game-tying solo homer.

“I knew it had a good chance [to go out], especially with the wind blowing out,” Wagaman added.

Johnson City closer Jacob Patterson (0-1) was charged with the loss and the blown save. Yankees closer Kaleb Ort (2-0) tallied the win after pitching a scoreless frame in the top of the ninth.

The win took the series for the Yankees as well. The two teams came into the Tuesday evening matchup with one win each. Johnson City took the series opener 9-3, but the Yankees stormed back to win Monday night in commanding fashion, 7-0.

Tuesday the Yankees took an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first and chased Redbirds starter Jacob Schlesener from the game after just 2/3 of an inning. Frederick Cuevas advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a passed ball. Jesus Bastidas lined a single past the drawn in the Cardinals infield to score Cuevas and make it 1-0.

Wagaman drove home Bastidas with a double down the leftfield line to score the Yankees’ second run. Wagaman came around to score on a Leobaldo Cabrera single.

The Yankees extended their lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the second. With two outs Brayan Emery sent a routine grounder towards Cardinals second baseman J.D. Murders but his flip to the bag at second for a force play was wide of the bag, which allowed Bastidas to cross the plate.

Johnson City tied the game in the top of the fourth. Murders opened the inning with a walk and Imeldo Diaz followed with a homer to make it a 4-2 game. Carlos Talavera singled up the middle and moved to second on a wild pitch.

Luis Bandes followed with a single to put runners on the corners before a passed ball allowed Talavera to score from third to cut the Cardinals’ deficit to one. Carlos Rodriguez knotted the game at four apiece with an opposite field single that scored Bandes.

Talavera sent the first pitch of of the fifth over the centerfield wall to give the Redbirds a 5-4 advantage.

The game stayed put at 5-4 until the bottom of the ninth when Wagaman’s solo shot tied the game. Brayan Emery was then drilled by a pitch to put the winning run on base. Emery was replaced by pinch runner Charles Vazquez, who moved to second on a sac bunt from Leobaldo Cabrera. Victor Rey walked to put runners on first and second and a passed ball allowed both runners to move into scoring position. A wild pitch allowed Vazquez to score the winning run.

The win leaves Pulaski just a half game behind the Bluefield Blue Jays, who come to historic Calfee Park tonight to begin a three-game series. It is Star Wars Night at the park, with giveaways, an auction for special Star Wars-themed Pulaski Yankee jerseys and Star Wars characters in attendance. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.

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