Pirates top Yankees in series opener in Bristol

BRISTOL, Va. –  The Pulaski Yankees found themselves on the losing end of a wild contest Monday night in the first of a two-game series on the road against the Bristol Pirates. After fighting back from a 5-0 deficit to grab a 6-5 lead, the Yankees gave up four unanswered runs and ultimately fell by a final score of 9-6.

Bristol chased Yankees’ starter Luis Medina from the game early by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. The New York Yankees’ number five prospect made it through just 2/3 of an inning, allowing two hits, three earned runs, and three walks.

The Pirates added to their lead in the home half of the third inning when Conner Uselton delivered an RBI triple to score Sherten Apostel before crossing the plate himself on an error later in the inning to make the score 5-0.

Pulaski got on the board in the top of the fourth, putting up three runs on four hits and two walks. Everson Pereira led off the inning with a double to left field, the first of three Yankees extra-base hits in the inning.

Nelson Gomez switched places with Pereira with a double of his own and then was joined on base by Carlos Narvaez, who walked in the following at bat. Mickey Gasper then doubled on a fly ball to left field to score Gomez before Narvaez came home by way of an RBI ground out from Max Burt to make it 5-3.

The Yankees snagged the lead in the top of the sixth with another three-run inning, jumping ahead of the Pirates 6-5. Narvaez and Gasper started the frame with back-to-back walks, followed by an RBI single from Burt and a two-run double from David Metzgar.

The lead wouldn’t last long for Pulaski, however, as Bristol countered with a three-run inning of their own in the home half of the sixth thanks to four base knocks. With runners on first and second and one out, Jonah Davis delivered a two-run double to but Bristol back in front by one. Victor Ngoepe added an RBI single to give the Pirates an 8-6 lead after six complete.

In the bottom of the eighth, Davis added some insurance with a solo home run to center field, his third hit of the night, that made the score 9-6.

Luis Rijo came on in relief of Medina for the second time this season, again pitching over five innings out of the bullpen. Tagged with the loss, Rijo tossed 5.1 innings in which he allowed seven hits and five runs (four earned), but tallied eight strikeouts without surrendering a walk.

Pulaski scored six runs on eight hits and one Bristol error, led offensively by a two-for-three performance from Mickey Gasper, who also earned a walk. Burt and Metzgar both recorded multi-RBI games for the Yankees, knocking in two runners a piece.

Bristol used 12 hits and four Yankees errors to score nine runs and earn the victory. Starter Shane Baz – the number three prospect in Pittsburgh’s organization – went 3.2 innings, allowing four hits, three earned runs, and two walks, while striking out five.

The Yankees (2-5) and Pirates (4-3) conclude their two-game series Tuesday night with a 7 p.m. first pitch at Boyce Cox Field in Bristol. Right-handed pitcher Wellington Caceres will toe the rubber for the Yanks as they look to salvage a series split.