Greenville led for seven innings Tuesday night. While that was a long time, it wasn’t quite long enough.
Greensboro rallied for two runs in the eighth inning to defeat the Drive 3-2 before a crowd of 4,151 at Fluor Field.
The loss pushed Greenville closer to elimination in the second-half standings of the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division. It also dropped the Drive 21/2 games behind Asheville wth 13 games remaining in what essentially is the wild-card race for the playoffs.
Trailing 2-1, the Grasshoppers knocked around Drive reliever Kuehl McEachern (7-4) for four singles in the eighth inning. Two of those hits brought home Felix Castillo and Mason Davis to put Greensboro ahead 3-2.
The Drive had a chance to tie or regain the lead in the bottom half of the inning when Greensboro reliever Eduar Quinonez walked Bryan Hudson and Yoan Moncada. Danny Mars struck out trying to bunt, however, and Rafael Devers ground into a double play to end the inning.
“All we can ask is that you have chance to win a game, and we had that tonight,” Greenville manager Darren Fenster said. “Didn’t execute a bunt in the eighth that potentially puts the tying and winning runs on second and third. Next guy, double play.
“Name of the game is getting the job done, and we didn’t do it tonight.”
Greenville (26-31) didn’t need much time to post a couple of runs. In fact, each of the team’s first three batters in the game registered hits.
Moncada started with a single. After he stole second base, Mars singled to bring him in. Mars then scored from first base on Devers’ double to left field. However, Devers was thrown out trying to get to third base.
Drive starter Ben Taylor allowed just one base runner — via a walk — the first time through the lineup. Catcher J. T. Watkins threw out that runner as he tried to steal second base.
Greensboro (19-38) got to Taylor in the fourth. Both Justin Twine and Arturo Rodriguez singled with Twine scoring to cut Greenville’s lead to 2-1.
Taylor, a former reliever, went five innings, giving up just the two hits and one run. He struck out six.
Carlos Pinales also pitched well in relief with a pair of scoreless innings.
“Ben has done what he’s been doing for us ever since he got here,” Fenster said. “Pinales had a really good outing. Kuehl, who’s been one of our more reliable guys, was leaving a few balls up in the zone, and they took advantage of that.”