The Yankees fell to Kingsport in the series finale as the Mets took game three 9-8 in a wild, back and forth contest to win the series and split the regular season series three games apiece.
Kingsport jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the first inning on a three-run home run on the ninth pitch of the game from Ryan Anderson. He then walked the next batter before a strikeout gave Pulaski their first out of the inning. He got one more strikeout in the first before Chad Bell ended the Mets first inning by touching third on a ground ball with runners on first and second.
Pulaski answered right back in the bottom of the first inning with three runs of their own. The first two batters hit singles, Ryder Green got hit to load the bases and Chad Bell drew a bases loaded walk to plate the first run of the night for the Yankees. A fielder’s choice double play and then a single scored the other two runs as Pulaski tied it up.
Kingsport took the lead back in the top of the third inning off Anderson but it looked like it could have been more as he walked two straight to load the bases before the Yankees called on Tyler Johnson to come out of the bullpen. It only took three pitches for him to earn the strikeout and end the Mets threat and kept the Yankees within one run.
Pulaski took the lead right back in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a lead off walk and a single, Jake Farrell hit his first home run of the year to left-center field to put the Yanks up 6-4. The Mets just wouldn’t go away though as they got within one run in the top of the fifth. After giving up a lead off double, a single followed that gave the Mets runners on the corners. A comebacker to Johnson on the mound froze the runner on third as he got caught in a rundown. A low throw to Bell at third scored the runner from third before the Yankees finally got the 1-2-5-6 putout of the runner between second and third.
The Mets tied the game in the top of the seventh inning off Kevin Milam who walked the lead off batter before a double and another walk loaded the bases. Milam got a strikeout for the first inning but gave up a bases loaded walk to tie the game. Milam pitched out of the inning by getting a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning. Pulaski once again regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Chirinos was hit by a pitch and advanced to third base after Cabello grounded out in a hit and run situation. With two outs, Green hit a double to center field to score the run and put Pulaski ahead 7-6. With the lead in hand, the Yankees called on their bullpen once more as Mitch Spence came in during the eighth inning. Spence entered the game with a 1.27 ERA in 21.1 innings and had allowed just six hits in his 12 appearances. He looked like he was going to continue his dominating season as he sat the first three hitters he faced down in order on 10 pitches with two strikeouts.
Pulaski failed to add insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth despite a lead off single from Madison Santos. A pair of wild pitches moved Santos to third base with just one out but Pulaski couldn’t put the ball in play to score him and the game remained 7-6 headed to the ninth.
Spence struck out the lead off man before a single put the tying run aboard. Another single right back up the middle over second base gave the Mets a pair of runners when they took the lead with a 3-run homer by Anthony Dirocie to left field. Spence got a pair of ground balls to end the top half of the inning and sent the Yankees to bat in the ninth trailing by two.
Antonio Cabello hit a one out double down the third base line before Green drove him in with a single and cut the deficit to just one run. Bell then hit a single of his own that advanced Green to third base and put the tying run 90 ft away with one out. Pulaski decided to get a pinch runner for Bell and Saul Torres at bat. In an attempt to get aggressive on the bases, Pulaski tried to steal second base to put the winning run in scoring position but the Mets got Torres to strikeout and then threw the runner out at second base to end the game and leave the tying run stranded on third base.
It was the first time this this season that the Yankees lost back-to-back home games and the first time Pulaski lost on consecutive nights since July 19th and 20th. The Yankees didn’t lose any ground in the Appalachian League East Division race as Burlington also lost tonight and are chasing the Yanks with the playoffs looming around the corner. Even with the loss, Pulaski’s magic number to clinch a playoff dropped to just two games with the loss by Bluefield tonight meaning that the Yankees can clinch a playoff spot as early as tomorrow with a single win over Johnson City and another Bluefield loss or if the Yankees can take care of both games over the Cardinals in tomorrow’s double header.
The Yankees and Cardinals will play two games tomorrow with one being a make up game from the opening series of the year after a rainout on the final day. Gates will open at 4:00 p.m. still with first pitch for game one scheduled for 5:00 p.m. with game two starting 30 minutes after game one ends. It’ll be ‘Pinstripe Pride’ night at the ballpark as fans are encouraged to wear their favorite threads from any and all of the teams apart of the New York Yankees organization. Fans who show off their ‘Pinstripe Pride’ can be entered to win prizes from the other teams in the Yankees family.