This report covers the period from Wednesday, September 8 through Monday, September 13.
Manager Chris Maloney's defending
Pacific Coast League champion club built upon their tie for first place in the
American North Division and league-best 82 wins to sweep the South
Division-winning Oklahoma City RedHawks (Texas Rangers) in the best-of-five
series for the Conference championship.
The Redbirds welcome National
The defending National conference
winner Sacramento River Cats (
Due to reconstruction, the
Finals Games 1 and 2 are scheduled
for Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 7:05 p.m. CT with the Redbirds as the "away"
team. After a day off on Thursday, Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-five series
(as needed) will be held with
Though it is clearly getting ahead of matters, the annual one-game Triple-A National Championship, formerly known as the Brickyard Showdown, held between the PCL and International League champs, is scheduled in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, September 21. The game will be televised on the Versus network nationally.
In the 2009 game, the Redbirds
lost to the Durham Bulls (
American Conference Championship
Game 1: Wednesday 9/8:
In game one of the best-of-five series, the visiting Hawks took the early 1-0 lead on a pair of doubles, but the Redbirds moved ahead in the third inning en route to their eighth consecutive playoff win. Joe Mather hit a solo home run and Donovan Solano followed with a two-run single.
OKC tied it up after a bases-empty
home runs in the fourth and fifth. Allen Craig and Joe Mather answered in the
bottom of the frame with a pair of two-run long-balls to open up a 7-3 lead.
Mather became the first
Brandon Dickson earned the win allowing all five runs, four earned, on eight hits. He departed after 5 1/3 innings as OKC plated their final two runs in the sixth. Josh Kinney worked around a leadoff double in the ninth to earn the save. Box
Game 2: Thursday 9/9:
With the score tied 2-2 in the sixth inning, the Redbirds claimed their first lead of the night when Ruben Gotay's double to right field scored Joe Mather.
Game 3: Friday 9/10:
The Redbirds defeated
Donovan Solano had three hits and scored twice while Mark Hamilton plated a pair. Jim Rapoport reached base all four times while Daniel Descalso and Ruben Gotay were on base three times on the evening. Box
On September 7, the Cardinals released infielder Kevin Howard. He had been placed on the suspended list three days earlier. In his only season in the Cardinals organization, the 29-year-old journeyman had a .242/.294/.355 line in 273 at-bats over 97 games. Howard hit six home runs and drove in 26.
Oddly, on Thursday the 9th, pitcher Oneli Perez was activated off the temporary inactive list, though the club had never announced when he had gone onto it.
Three hitters batted over .500 while three others were at .273 or below, but drove in a total of 10 runs over the three games. The final hot hitter, second baseman Daniel Descalso, batted just .200, but got on base at a .385 clip. As a team, the Redbirds batted .320 in the first round.
Leadoff man, centerfielder Jim Rapoport, was on base nine times in 13 plate appearances for a .692 OBP, yet surprisingly crossed home plate only once in the three games.
First-round hot hitters
Ruben Gotay: 5-for-9, .556, 3 2B, 3 BB, 2 R, RBI
Jim Rapoport: 7-for-11, .636, R, 2 BB, 2 RBI
Donovan Solano: 6-for-11, .545, 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI
Allen Craig: 3-for-12, .250, 2B, 2 BB, R, 4 RBI, 3 K
Mark Hamilton: 3-for-11, .273, 2 2B, 2 BB, R, 2 RBI, 5 K
Joe Mather: 3-for-13, .231, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 K
Daniel Descalso: 2-for-10, .200, 3 BB, 3 R, 3 K
First-round not hitters
Amaury Cazana: 2-for-13, .154, 2B, R, 3 K
Tony Cruz: 1-for-10, .100, 2B, BB, R, 2 K
The pitching staff had an aggregate 2.67 ERA over the three games, a very fine showing, indeed.
First-round hot pitchers
Josh Kinney: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 saves, ERA 0.00
Eduardo Sanchez: 3 IP: 0 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 K, hold, ERA 0.00
Lance Lynn: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 16 K, ERA 1.29
P.J. Walters: 6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R/ER, 5 BB, 7 K, win, ERA 2.70
First-round not pitcher
Brandon Dickson: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R/4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, win, ERA 6.75
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