The Cardinals took game one thanks in large part to Nick Derba's three RBI performance and a strong start from Nick Additon. Additon went eight innings, allowing just one run on four hits and struck out eight.
That would be the last winning pitching performance for a Cardinal on the road trip. In game two of the series, the Cardinals were thumped 14-4, as Deryk Hooker was tagged with the loss and fell to 0-2 with a 10.66 ERA. Alex Castellanos hit his fourth home run of the season in the losing effort.
On Friday, the Cardinals saw Mike Blazek torched for five runs in 5.2 innings pitched, though he would not figure in the decision. Springfield's bullpen was given a lead but they were unable to protect it. Casey Mulligan blew the save and took the loss, giving up two runs in 1.1 innings of work.
Trying to split the series on Saturday, the Cardinals sent Scott Schneider to the hill, but the Drillers had other ideas. Tulsa took advantage of costly Cardinals' errors to score three unearned runs against Schneider. He was pegged with the loss despite the fact that he yielded only one earned run in 6.2 innings. Schneider struck out four while only giving up six hits. A tough break was the end of a tough road trip for Springfield.
The Cardinals returned home to face the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Monday, but rain forced the Redbirds to make alternate plans. Monday's game was rained out and the Cards and Naturals would make it up with a double-dip on Tuesday night of seven innings each.
The Naturals took game one 4-3. Ryan Jackson continued his hot hitting at home with his first Double-A home run to tie the game in the fifth inning. The Naturals retook the lead in the sixth for good, when Salvador Perez went deep against reliever Jose Rada.
In game two, it was the Alex Castellanos show. He homered in his first at bat and then scored two with a two-out triple off of the centerfield fence in his second at bat. Nick Greenwood received the win out of the bullpen as Matt Frevert nailed down the save.
Alex Castellanos – Castellanos, 24, was named the Texas League Player of the Week and he currently has a nine-game hitting streak after collecting hits in both ends of the double header on Tuesday evening. The right-handed hitter also has five home runs and has driven in 15. Over his last ten games, Castellanos is hitting .316 with four of his home runs and 11 of his RBI.
Nick Greenwood – It's tough to knock Greenwood out of this spot on the "Who's Hot" watch list, as he turned in another solid week. He has yet to allow a run since his promotion from Palm Beach. The left-hander collected his first Texas League win on Tuesday night and he is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in five appearances, totaling nine innings out of the Cardinals bullpen. The 23-year-old has registered seven strikeouts while walking two.
Niko Vasquez – Vasquez was part of the trio of 22-year-old infielders that debuted this season in Springfield, with Matt Adams and Ryan Jackson the other two. Adams and Jackson have both adjusted nicely and are exceeding most expectations offensively, but the same cannot be said for Vasquez. He is just 4-for-28 (.143) in his last ten games and is currently riding an 0-for-10 skid at the plate. Vasquez was pushed all the way down ninth in the order for one game and has now made eight starts at seventh in Pop Warner's lineup.
The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch
#40 Niko Vasquez – Vasquez continues to try and find himself offensively. He is currently 0-for- his last 10. He is hitting .217 with two home runs and nine driven in on the season.
#36 Tyler Henley – Henley continues to be one of the coldest Cardinal hitters. He is just 2-for-18 in his last 10 games and has put together a line of .135 with one home run and only three RBI.
#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson has cooled off a little…he is now only hitting .362 on the season. He hit the first Double-A home run of his career on Tuesday night, a shot into the stiff wind that carried out to left field, certainly no cheapie. He is 3-for-15 over his last five games, but does have three RBI in that span.
#33 Matt Adams – Adams is settling into the Texas League quite nicely. Adams is now hitting .307 with three homers and 14 RBI. Adams hit two home runs on the road trip to Tulsa and is 14-for-39 (.359) with all three of his home runs and eight of his RBI in his last 10 games.
#31 Steven Hill – Remains on the club's 7-day disabled list.
#23 David Kopp – Also on the club's 7-day disabled list. Kopp is throwing in Extended Spring Training, but no return date has been disclosed.
#19 Tommy Pham – Pham is scuffling at the plate, but is showing signs of coming out of the funk. The outfielder is 5-for-15 over the last five games, with a home run and three RBI. Pham'sseason line is still underwhelming, as he is only hitting .226 with two homers and six RBI.
#18 Deryk Hooker – Hooker has been rocked his last couple of starts. At Tulsa this past week, he lasted just 3.1 innings, yielding seven earned runs on six hits including a home run. The right-hander now is the owner of a very bloated 10.66 ERA and a 0-2 record. Hooker has made three starts and has logged 12.2 innings and is certainly still trying to find his groove from his successful 2010 season.
The Springfield Cardinals will finish up the series against Northwest Arkansas with a 12:07 start on Wednesday and then return for a night game on Thursday. Tulsa will make the trip to Springfield to start a four-game set on Friday, which will wrap up on Monday.
Josh Thompson can be contacted at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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