Twins bomb error-prone Cardinals

By Allen LaMountain

   JOHNSON CITY -- After a debut in which the Elizabethton Twins saw the Johnson City Cardinals steal away a win with a late rally, the Twins weren't about to let the Cards produce a repeat performance.
   The Twins let their bats do the talking, and along with some shaky defense by Johnson City, produced a 17-7 win on Wednesday night at Cardinal Park.
   Betsy rapped out 12 hits - to give them 25 hits in two games - as the Twins evened their Appalachian League record at 1-1 with the win.
   Scott Tyler got the start and pitched well in his five innings of work surrendering four runs (three earned) on just two hits, while striking out eight.
   "It's a relief to get the first one behind me," said Tyler. "I didn't have my best stuff tonight, but I battled with what I had out there. I'm anxious to get back on the hill for my next start and try to improve on things."
   Johnson City struck early against Tyler as back-to-back walks to Mike McCoy and Terry Evans with one away set the table for a potential big inning.
   Tyler gave up a run when catcher Daniel Marin let one get past him allowing McCoy to scamper home and give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
   Zach Cates took Tyler deep in the second frame, blasting a shot over the rightfield fence to stake Cardinal starter Aaron Ledbetter to a two-run cushion.
   "I fell behind in the count and battled back to a full count," Tyler said. "I wanted to throw a strike and maybe get a ground ball, but the pitch was too fat and he got ahold of it."
   In the fourth frame however the Twins took this contest over, scoring six runs on just two hits, with the big blow being a grand slam home run by shortstop Inocencio Hiraldo that gave Betsy a 6-2 lead.
   Felix Molina led off with a two-bagger and Ledbetter then lost sight of the plate, walking both Garrett Guzman and Dusty Gomon to load the bases with no outs.
   Ledbetter then retired both Danny Matienzo and Edgardo LeBron and had a full count going against Marin before hitting him with a pitch to force home a run.
   A walk to Justin Sims forced home the tying run before Hiraldo teed off on a high fastball and put it over the left-centerfield fence.
   Molina crushed a homer over the rightfield fence in the fifth to give Betsy a 7-2 advantage and finished the night three-for-five with four runs batted in.
   "I felt comfortable at the plate," said Molina. "I try to make the pitcher come to me in those situations. We have a lot of good hitters here and with the pitchers we have we should do good."
   Ledbetter went just three and two-thirds before giving way to James Mondesir, who also struggled in his two innings of work.
   In the sixth the roof caved in on Johnson City as Betsy sent 12 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the frame to open up a 16-4 lead.
   The Cardinals made two errors in the frame and diminutive lefty Gary Van Matre took the brunt of the Twins assault. Van Matre's linescore is one that he will probably want to forget as soon as possible.
   "Things snowballed on him," said Cards manager Brain Rupp. "When things go bad it's like a domino effect and things tend to go south. It was a tough situation for him to come in to, but you have to come through."
   The Cards scored a pair of runs in the eighth and another tally in the ninth against Twins relievers Chad Pylate and Ryan Smith respectively to at least make it respectable.
   "You want to see how players respond after a night like this," said Rupp. "The good thing about it is it only counts as one loss. We are swinging the bats well and you want to try to take as many positives as you can from something like this."
   E-Twins notes : LF Garrett Guzman looks like the real thing with three hits in eight at-bats, and 1B Dusty Gomon has started five-of-nine with a homer and three RBI. 3B Edgardo LeBron ended an eight at-bat hitless streak with an RBI single and 2B Molina and SS Hiraldo both had big games in their E-Twins debuts.