Greeneville puts stop to Elizabethton win streak

By Wes Holtsclaw
star staff
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

  TUSCULUM--With six straight wins to the Twins' credit, an average baseball fan would know Elizabethton couldn't keep adding digits to the "W" chart.
  The Twins didn't get the kind of performance they have had in the previous week on Monday night.
  A costly error in the fourth inning helped add fuel to a scoring fire in favor of the Greeneville Astros, who claimed the third game in their series with the Twins 5-1 at Pioneer Park on the campus of Tusculum College in front of 1,449 in attendance.
  "It's tough enough to get three outs in an inning, and when you give four and five extra outs to a good hitting club that has some fire in their lineup, it makes it tough on our pitchers," said Elizabethton manager Ray Smith.
  The loss, combined with Johnson City's 7-1 victory over Bluefield last night, helped the Cardinals overtake Elizabethton atop the West Division standings going into tonight's 7 o'clock battle between the two rivals at O'Brien Field.
  Johnson City has won eight games in a row.
  Elizabethton's defense did a good job holding the Astro scoring threat for most of the night. Greeneville had 12 hits and only one error in the game.
  One thing that hurt the visiting Twins was the removal of shortstop Trevor Plouffe, who had his hit streak broken when he was struck in the wrist by a pitch in the first inning.
  He was replaced by the talented Patrick Ortiz, but the Puerto Rican didn't have one of his better outings, giving up each of Elizabethton's three errors.
  "We've played pretty solid defense most of the year up to this point," said Smith. "We had to throw Ortiz out there (when Plouffe got hurt) and he attacked the ball defensively. He might've been a little too aggressive."
  Greeneville went up 3-0 on the starting pitcher, Steven Duguay, and the Twins defense in the fourth inning.
  Mitch Einertson led off with a single and scored on a Justin Towles double. Jordan Parraz singled and Ortiz got the ball at the cut-off position to stall the runners.
  However, Ortiz sent the ball towards third in an effort to capture Einertson when the ball went rolling past Jay Yaconetti to allow the second run.
  The failed out then let Ryan Reed single to score Parraz.
  Elizabethton held Greeneville in the sixth and seventh innings, but the squad got insurance with Towles' third hit and a follow-up 360-foot blast over the left-center wall from Parraz.
  Elizabethton's lone offensive bright spot came in the fifth inning when Matt Tolbert walked and scored on Greeneville's lone error.
  Juan Gutierrez took the win for Greeneville after allowing each of the Twins' four hits in five innings.
  Ryan Thompson, Douglas Arguello and Enyelbert Soto each kept the Twins hitless during the remainder of the game.
  Duguay grabbed his second loss, giving up seven hits and striking out four. Kyle Aselton gave up three hits before Jeff Mouser allowed the homer in his eighth inning.
  A bright spot to the weekend stretch was the Twins claiming two out of the three.
  "They were three pretty tight games," Smith said. "We're happy to win two out of three, but any of those games could've gone either way.
  The next Johnson City series is perhaps one of the biggest left on the schedule, given the way the Cardinals have come along during the past couple of weeks.
  The Twins plan to continue playing steady ball.
  "We try to take the same attitude every game," Smith said. "We'll come out there early and do our pre-game stuff. We'll show up and give it our best effort."
  Eindhoven, Netherlands native Alexander Smit will get the start in tonight's contest.
  Plouffe is still questionable for tonight's game after the shot to his glove hand, but will get x-rayed today and is expected to be able to return to action.