Tyler cuffs Mets as Twins prevail

By Allen LaMountain

   KINGSPORT -- Scott Tyler struck out 10 Kingsport batters in six and two-thirds innings of work on Monday night as the Elizabethton Twins stayed alive in the Appalachian League's West Division with an 8-0 whitewashing of the Mets at Hunter-Wright Stadium.
   'Betsy's win along with Bristol's 6-1 loss to Pulaski pulls the Twins to within three games of the Sox with eight contests remaining. Tyler (8-1, 2.99) was outstanding in surrendering just two singles and three walks to Kingsport in a game Elizabethton had to win to keep its hopes afloat for a three-peat of the division crown.
   Garret Guzman sparked a 15-hit Twins attack with a three-for-five night at the dish that included his 17th double of the season and two RBI.
   "A lot of my improvement over the past month may have to do with seeing pitchers a second time," Guzman said. "I also think that I'm hitting lefties a lot better, too. I struggled early on against lefties but I'm comfortable at the plate and that makes a difference."
   J.R. Taylor and Trent Oeltjen each also had a three-hit evening as the Twins tattooed Mets starter Jason Weintraub (1-6, 5.97) and two Kingsport relievers. Weintraub went four innings giving up three runs on eight hits, while striking out two and walking one and took the loss.
   'Betsy jumped out to a two-run lead right out of the dugout as Oeltjen singled and one out later Guzman singled as well to put Elizabethton runners on the corners. Doug Deeds' 15th double of the season plated Oeltjen and Guzman to stake Tyler to all the run support he would need on this night.
   The Twins weren't through by a long shot, however, as Molina knocked a triple off the wall in right field and Guzman plated him with a two-bagger. Scott Whitrock dropped a bloop double in between three Mets, but 'Betsy could do no further damage in the frame, but extended to a three-run cushion.
   In the sixth Molina and Guzman each had RBI hits as the Twins took control against Kingsport reliever Taylor George. George lasted three innings and gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits while recording two strikeouts and walking two.
   Tyler meanwhile was seemingly on cruise control as he didn't allow a Mets runner past first base, and never gave up two hits in one frame.
   "I feel like I'm in a good groove now," said Tyler. "Even though I walked three hitters I threw 17 first pitch strikes, which is important to get you ahead of the hitters. I felt like my control was good, my fastball moved downhill better and I went to my curve a little bit."
   Elizabethton scored three more runs in the seventh as Taylor had an RBI double, Oeltjen an RBI single and Molina hit a sacrifice fly to make it an 8-0 contest. Josh Hill pitched one and one-third frames of relief and he retired all four Mets batters he faced.
   Justin Keeling allowed an infield hit in the ninth by red-hot Roberto Solano, but erased him on a 1-6-3 double play that ended the game.
   "All we can hope for is that Bristol loses some games down the stretch," said Guzman. "We can't tie with them, since they own the tie-breaker, but we'll take it day-by-day and see if we can catch them."
   E-Twins notes: Molina has moved to third base and has done a solid job, displaying a strong enough throwing arm to go along with solid range. Oeltjen showed no ill effects from his elbow injury and his defense in CF has been exemplary all season. Dusty Gomon still is on the shelf with a fractured forearm, but he is in uniform every night, so we may see a pinch-hit or two from him. Hopefully Gomon will make it back into the lineup for the season's final homestand against Johnson City next week.