Obliterating a tie contest with a nine-run seventh inning, the Mets dusted Bristol 15-7 on Thursday night at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Sweeping the three-game series, Kingsport (32-30) now holds a three-game lead over the Pirates (29-33) for the West Division wild-card berth. With six games left on their schedule, the Mets trail division leader Elizabethton by three games.
After Bristol pushed across two runs in the top of the seventh to knot the score at 6, Kingsport erupted offensively. Jarred Kelenic led off with a single, Shervyen Newton drew a walk and Mark Vientos followed with a three-run home run.
Ronny Mauricio wasted no time continuing the onslaught, banging out a double. From there came three consecutive walks wrapped around a run-producing passed ball, then Ranfy Adon delivered a two-run single.
Next to the plate was Yoel Romero, and he swatted the second three-run homer of the inning.
Bristol finally settled down and retired three of the next four batters, but the damage had been done.
A 12-hit Kingsport assault was topped by Kelenic at 3-for-4 with a double. He also scored three times and joined Vientos and Romero in driving across three runs apiece.
Adding two hits each were Adon (2 runs), Vientos and Romero, who doubled to begin the bottom of the first.
Bristol’s Patrick Dorrian fit two triples into a 3-for-4, 2-run effort. Chase Lambert had a three-bagger in going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Brendt Citta homered.
The fourth of five Mets pitchers to take the hill Thursday night, Christian Tripp (1-0) allowed a run in 1 2/3 innings. John O’Reilly (1-1) relieved Pirates starter Denny Roman in the fifth and worked two innings, yielding five runs (four earned).