Cardinals minor league notebook: 04/16/12

Sunday was a day of extremes in St. Louis' minor league system. A victory by Memphis broke their extreme losing streak while Quad Cities won in an extremely dominating way. Springfield and Palm Beach, however, lost in an extremely big way.

Memphis 4, Oklahoma City 3

Memphis' nine-game losing streak is now history with a 4-3 victory over visiting Oklahoma City on Sunday. The Redbirds' record now stands at 2-9, which puts them in fourth (and last) place, six games behind Omaha (KC).

Starter Brandon Dickson scattered eight hits and two walks over six innings that resulted in two runs across, both earned. Both walks were intentional. He struck out six and threw 99 pitches, 64 for strikes. Dickson left the game down 2-1 but Memphis rallied to go ahead in the seventh. Barrett Browning, however, gave up the lead on an unearned run in the eighth that was a result of his throwing error. The 28-year-old southpaw allowed two hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Adam Reifer came in for Browning with a runner aboard and two outs. A fielding error by second baseman Jermaine Curtis heightened the tension by putting another runner on and placing Browning's runner into scoring position in what would have been the go-ahead run. Reifer (W, 1-1) rose to the occasion by striking out the next batter to end the threat. Eduardo Sanchez appeared in his second consecutive game for the first time this season and pitched a perfect ninth for his second save. He struck out two.

The Redbirds came up in the bottom of the third trailing 1-0 but tied the game when centerfielder Adron Chambers singled to right with two outs and scored Curtis from second. The bottom of the seventh saw Memphis again trailing, this time by a 2-1 score. The Redbirds plated two on right fielder Cedric Hunter's single to right that scored third baseman Zack Cox from third and advanced Curtis to third. Chambers hit a sacrifice fly to right that brought Curtis home and gave Memphis a temporary 3-2 lead.

The streak-breaking, game winner came in the eighth when left fielder Chris Swauger doubled to right with one out. He came home when newly-signed catcher Mitch Canham reached base on a fielding error by the RedHawks' shortstop. An aside: The St. Louis Cardinals' Skip Schumaker went 0-for-2 with a walk in his first rehab appearance. The streak is dead; long live the new winning streak.

Monday's game: vs. Oklahoma City, 7:05 pm CT, Brian Broderick (0-2, 8.00 ERA)

Midland 18, Springfield 4

It was a game to be forgotten for Springfield as they lost to Midland 18-4. It was their third consecutive loss and tied the unenviable franchise record for hits and runs allowed at 22 and 18, respectively. The Cardinals' record falls to 4-6, three games behind first-place Tulsa (COL).

Six different pitchers took part in the debacle, led by starter Tyler Lyons who did not get out of the second inning. The lefty gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. That performance was better than Scott Schneider who replaced him. Schneider's 1 1/3-inning stint included seven runs on seven hits and a walk. He did not retire any of the three hitters that faced him in the fourth and left two aboard for Kevin Thomas. None of the hits against Schneider were via the long ball. That was Thomas' bailiwick as his outing included a three-run home run. It was the only home run given up by the Springfield staff. Thomas allowed four runs on six hits in two innings. Those four runs do not include the two he inherited from Schneider.

Eric Fornataro was the only Springfield pitcher unscored upon on Sunday. He pitched a perfect sixth but that was a brief respite. Maybe the Midland batters were exhausted and taking a break. Enter Keith Butler, who gave up only one run on two hits in his inning. Jake Shaffer was the last Cardinals' pitcher of the evening when the outfielder pitched the eighth. Shaffer allowed three runs on four hits and a walk. All of Midland's 18 runs scored were earned.

Springfield's offense scored four runs on 11 hits. Jose Garcia led off the game with a double and came around to score the game's first run on a ground out. He was 3-for-5 while playing both third and centerfield. Niko Vasquez' pinch hit single to left in the seventh scored shortstop Greg Garcia and second baseman Kolten Wong who had singled and doubled respectively. Vasquez remained in the game to play third. An eighth-inning ground out by Jose Garcia plated Adam Melker for the Cardinals' final tally.

Monday's game: @ Midland, 6:30 pm CT, Scott Gorgen (0-1, 2.08 ERA)

Bradenton 10, Palm Beach 1

The Bradenton Marauders lived up to their name as they tore through visiting Palm Beach 10-1. The Cardinals' record slipped to 4-6.

Palm Beach starter Anthony Ferrara (L, 0-1) fell prey to a big five-run third inning in which he walked three, gave up a double and a three-run home run. He allowed another two runs, both unearned, in his fifth and final inning of work. The southpaw yielded six hits, four walks, seven runs, five earned.

Dean Kiekhefer coughed up another two runs in the sixth, the first of his two innings on the mound. Those runs scored on three of the four hits he allowed on the day. However, only one of the two runs was earned due to his own throwing error. Kiekhefer did not walk a batter, fortunately, and struck out two. Zack Russell allowed Bradenton's final run in the eighth on a one-out double, wild pitch, ground out sequence.

The Cardinals had a frustrating day at the plate as they managed 10 hits - one less than the Marauders - but plated only one run. That run came in the eighth when newly-activated right fielder Kyle Conley led off the inning with a home run to left. Shortstop Ronny Gil went 3-for-4 while left fielder Mike O'Neill and first baseman Jonathan Rodriguez each had two hits in four at-bats.

Monday's game: @ Bradenton (PIT), 6:30 pm EST, Drew Benes (0-1, 7.36 ERA)

Quad Cities 11 at Cedar Rapids 1

Quad Cities turned a 16-hit attack that encompassed 27 total bases into an 11-1 drubbing of Cedar Rapids. With the victory, the River Bandits finished a seven-game road trip with a 5-2 record and an overall record of 6-4. That record places them back in a three-way tie for first with Cedar Rapids (LAA) and Kane County (KC).

There were many hitting stars for the River Bandits in the game but none more so than designated hitter Colin Walsh, our Player of the Day. His first-inning double to center scored center fielder Nick Martini and catcher Juan Castillo for the team's second and third runs. Walsh came up again in the fifth and blasted a three-run shot over the left field wall that turned a 4-1 game into a 7-1 rout. Walsh added a single and a walk to his performance for the day to raise his overall line to .333/.415/.778/1.192.

Both Walsh and left fielder Anthony Garcia were a hit shy of the cycle for the day: the former by a triple and the latter by a home run. Garcia went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two driven in. Third baseman Tyler Rahmatulla added three hits, including a double, a run scored and another driven in. Castillo went 2-for-4 including a triple, with three runs scored as well as driving in shortstop Matt Williams for the team's first run. Martini scored three runs in a 1-for-3 performance that included two free passes. In fact, only second baseman Luis Mateo failed to either score or drive in a run in what was a great day to be a member of Quad Cities' offense.

2011 fifth-round selection Sam Gaviglio was the beneficiary of the River Bandits' offensive bounty. Gaviglio (W, 1-0) picked up his first professional win by limiting the Kernels to one run, earned, on four hits and a walk in six innings. That run scored in the bottom of the first on a lead-off single, steal, advance on ground out sequence and scored on a throwing error by Matt Williams. Ethan Cole and Heath Wyatt combined to shut down the opposition on two hits and a walk over the final three frames.

Monday's game: vs. Clinton, 7:00 pm CT, Dail Villanueva (0-1, 6.75 ERA)

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