Twins deny Mets on Winfree slam

By Rebecca Pierson
Assistant Sports Editor
rpierson@starhq.com

   The Elizabethton Twins came back with an eighth-inning grand slam by David Winfree to overtake the Kingsport Mets, 9-5, in an Appalachian League affair at Joe O'Brien Field Sunday night.
   Winfree was injured weeks ago when he was hit by a pitch in the wrist. He holds a .250 average and this makes his fourth homer this season.
   "I struggled a little, but I try not to make the moment out to be bigger than it was," Winfree said. "I have to get my timing back. I have had no timing at all.
   "I have been jumping at the ball and stuff. It will all come back to me. Everybody goes through it, but it was a good way to end the game right there."
   The Mets were the first on the board, in the top of the third. Jesus Gamero had a hit to the right-field fence for a double. After Joshua Wyrick sent a bunt towards third for a single, Carlos Gomez rolled a grounder up the middle for a single and an RBI. From there Seth Pietsch received a free pass to load the bases.
   Jabe Bergeron then popped the ball to third. Twins third baseman David Winfree tagged out Gomez, but Wyrick earned the second run for the Mets. Travis Garcia and Josh Peterson followed by striking out.
   The Twins wouldn't get on the board until the bottom of the fourth, when Landon Burt got a free pass. Burt would give that free pass back when Marcos Cabral tagged him out at second on a steal, then Trevor Plouffe tagged a single up the middle.
   Deacon Burns would then home run over the left-field fence to tie the game 2-2.
   The Mets would take the lead again in the fifth as Jabe Bergeron had a single sent to the shortstop, setting up a two-run homer over the left-field wall by Travis Garcia for a 4-2 Kingsport advantage.
   The Twins knocked out another home run by Woodard in the bottom of the fifth, then tied the score in the sixth with a double and a RBI by Sanchez.
   The Mets came out in the top of the eighth to take the lead. Garcia had a single before Peterson had a grounder to first, but Garcia was caught out at second. Louis Santana had a grounder to the mound and was out on first. Marcos Cabral banged the ball to the shortstop, but Plouffe struggled with the throw and Cabral was safe on first.
   Gamero had a single up the middle that opened the back door for Peterson for the lead.
   Landon Burt opened up the bottom of the eighth for the Twins by getting hit on the shoulder. Plouffe drew a walk and Burns hit a grounder and loaded the bases off of a Cabral error at second.
   Jeremy Pickerel was then walked, tying the game 5-5. Javier Sanchez was fouled out after a great catch by Josh Peterson at third.
   Winfree then came to bat and grand slammed to bring home the winning runs for the Twins. The Mets left two on in the top of the ninth after a strikeout by Bergeron, and two defensive outs on Gomez and Peterson closed up the game.
   Burns hit his fourth home run for the season and Woodard had his third. This makes Gracia's second for the Mets.
   "Dave is a real quality guy," Twins manager Ray Smith said of Winfree. "He has tremendous ability but his timing is off. He was drilled by a pitch in the wrist and missed four or five games. It is taking him a couple of games to get his timing back.
   "In this game, his ability to identify spin and location and velocity just wasn't quite right. But the athleticism came out in him. He got the pitch and he didn't miss it this time.
   "For the Twins to win some games, we are going to need him to bat some runs in. I was real happy for him because he was struggling a little bit. He got a pitch he could handle and he didn't miss it."