Springfield started the homestand with a 5-3 victory featuring a tremendous start from Maikel Cleto. The right-hander went six innings and gave up two earned runs on seven hits while striking out nine. In earning the win, Cleto improved his record to 2-1 in the Texas League. The Cardinals got a home run and two RBI from Steven Hill.
On Thursday, Springfield and Tulsa had a doubleheader to make up the rain out from May 2nd. The Cardinals took game one 6-2, as Mike Blazek led the way, both with his pitching and his hitting. Blazek earned his Texas League-leading seventh victory of the season with strong outing, going six innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits while striking out five. If that wasn't enough, he also hit a two-run home run over the visitors' bullpen in left center field, his first professional home run. Chris Swauger also hit his fourth home run of the season.
Game two of the twinbill would not be as much fun for the Springfield starting pitcher. Fresh off one of his best starts of the year, Scott Schneider was roughed up. He was only able to last 3 2/3 innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits. He was pinned with the loss, as his record fell to 2-5, with a 5.62 ERA.
On Friday night, the Cardinals looked like they were all but finished several times. A game that was started by the Cardinals' number one prospect, Shelby Miller, certainly lived up to expectation. Miller looked dominant at times, striking out nine batters in six innings of work. He would give up only two earned runs on six hits, but would not factor in the decision. The Cardinals trailed 7-3 going into the bottom of the eighth and trailed again, this time 9-6 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. Springfield rallied for three in the ninth to send the game into extra innings, tied at nine. The rally in the ninth was capped with a triple off the bat of Domnit Bolivar, and with that triple he became the first Springfield Cardinal to hit for the cycle. Bolivar was 4-for-5 with four RBI in the ballgame and was sporting a .545 batting average heading into Saturday's game. Jorge Rondon came in to pitch the top of the 10th inning and worked a scoreless frame. Steven Hill provided the walk off single up the middle in the bottom of the 10th, as the Cardinals won 10-9.
On Saturday, the Springfield Cardinals looked to take four of five from Tulsa and get back to .500 for the first time since the opening night of the season. Unfortunately, it would not be in the cards. David Kopp started and again got hit around the ballpark. He gave up five runs, four earned on seven hits over six innings. The Cardinals trailed 5-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Cardinals tied the game at five, and had the bases loaded with Alex Castellanos at the plate. Castellanos sent a slow chopper up the third base line and appeared to beat out the throw by a step, but was called out, sending the game into the eighth inning tied. Replays showed Castellanos safe by a step and a half. With the wind sucked out of their sails, the Cardinals were unable to answer a run pushed across in the tenth inning, and Tulsa won the ballgame 6-5.
With a disappointing finish to the homestand fresh on their minds, the Cardinals headed out on the road to take on the division-leading Arkansas Travelers. Springfield sent Kevin Thomas to the hill in game one, and he would be tagged with the loss after working six innings, giving up six earned runs on seven hits. With the loss, Thomas fell to 1-4 on the year with a 4.96 ERA. The Cardinals did get big offensive production from two players that had been on the bench for a majority of the past homestand. Charles Cutler was 4-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI. Ryan Jackson had been out of the lineup the past couple of games after getting hit by a pitch on Thursday. In his return to the starting lineup, Jackson was 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. The Cardinals lost game one of the series, 8-6.
On Monday night, things wouldn't get much better for Springfield, as they lost 7-3. Maikel Cleto was roughed up, only going 4 1/3 innings, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits while only striking out only two. Cleto was pinned with his second loss of the season, to even his record at 2-2.
Arkansas continued their dominance on Tuesday, as they out slugged the Cardinals 8-4. Mike Blazek took his third loss of the season, giving up eight earned runs in just four innings of work. Blazek fell to 7-3.
Audry Perez – Perez is hitting .360 with two home runs and seven RBI over his last ten seasons. Perez has assumed the everyday catcher's role but he has continued to struggle defensively, throwing out less than 5% of would be base stealers, but his bat is starting to warm up. The 22 year-old has been working on the throwing motion and has a new batting stance. It would appear that the new batting stance is working.
Samuel Freeman – Freeman has allowed only one earned run all season. He now sports a 0.49 ERA in 18 1/3 innings. The only earned run that he has given up came on May 17. Since that time the left-hander has pitched 13 1/3 scoreless innings.
Around the Texas League
Alex Castellanos – Castellanos is fourth in the league with 14 home runs.
Mike Blazek – Tied for the league lead with seven wins.
Nick Greenwood – Greenwood is leading the league with eight holds.
How They Stack Up
FIRST HALF STANDINGS
The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch
#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson is hitting .343 in June with a home run and already has eight RBI. He had 10 RBI in May, and it would appear that he is well on his way to passing that total in June. He is now hitting .261 with four homers and 27 RBI on the season.
#33 Matt Adams – Is on the club's disabled list.
#31 Steven Hill – Hill has been red hot since coming back off of the disabled list. Hill is now hitting .278 with six home runs and 16. He has one homer and two RBI and was hitting .188 when he was placed on the disabled list.
#23 David Kopp – Kopp went six innings and surrendered four earned runs on seven hits at home against Tulsa, but he did not figure in the decision. Kopp is now 2-2, with a 5.79 ERA on the season.
#19 Tommy Pham – Is on the club's disabled list.
#18 Deryk Hooker – Is on the club's disabled list.
#2 Zack Cox – Cox' batting average plummeted to .236. He has two home runs and six RBI on the season. He does still own a .321 ob-base percentage.
#1 Shelby Miller – With the most hyped Hammons Field debut since Brett Wallace in 2008, Shelby Miller seemed to deliver all that any fan could have expected. Miller worked six innings and gave up three runs, two earned on six hits. But the story was that Miller notched nine strikeouts, including striking out the side in the first inning. Miller did not factor in the decision of his home debut. He is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and has 14 strikeouts in 12 innings of work.
The Springfield Cardinals finish up their series with the Arkansas Travelers and then will head on to Northwest Arkansas for a four game set with the Naturals before heading back home for an eight-game homestand to end the first half.
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