Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 04/18/12

Pitching was the main order of the night Tuesday as three of the four minor league squads were locked in pitching duels. Springfield, Palm Beach and Quad Cities all won while Memphis fell.

New Orleans 3 at Memphis 1

Late-inning runs were the difference in the game as Memphis lost to New Orleans at home 3-1.

The contest was deadlocked at one all going into the eighth when Barret Browning (L, 0-1) gave up the tie-breaker on two hits and a walk. The Zephyrs added another run in the ninth, unearned, against Jess Todd, who issued one free pass. That walk came back to haunt the Redbirds when the runner's steal of second resulted in an errant throw by catcher Bryan Anderson. That placed a runner at third who subsequently scored on a sacrifice fly. Joe Kelly's productive start went for naught. Kelly scattered five hits and a walk over six innings. The only run scored against him came in the fifth. Kelly struck out six.

Memphis managed just three hits and two of them came in the sixth inning. Lead-off hitter Cedric Hunter singled to open the frame and was sacrificed to second by shortstop Ryan Jackson. The Redbirds' big bat came to the plate and first baseman Matt Adams lined a single to left that plated Hunter. Adams has hit safely in eight of his ten games so far. Anderson's second hit of the season was Memphis' only other hit.

Wednesday's game: vs. New Orleans, 7:05 pm CT, Shelby Miller (0-2, 9.00)

Springfield 2 at Midland 1

The Cardinals headed home on a winning note with a 2-1 victory over the RockHounds to take the rubber game of the series. Springfield ended the road trip at 3-3 and evened their overall mark to 6-6.

John Gast (W, 3-0) tossed his third straight strong start, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing just one run, earned, on three hits and two walks. The only blemish against him was a solo shot in the second that temporarily put Midland up 1-0. Gast, our Player of the Day, has gone at least six innings with only one run allowed in each of his three starts to date. Kevin Thomas and Sam Freeman combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings while Jorge Rondon struck out his only batter for his second save.

Free passes to Springfield's middle infielders came back to haunt Midland in the third. A one-out walk to shortstop Greg Garcia was followed by a two-out walk to second baseman Kolten Wong. That brought center fielder Oscar Taveras to the plate and his line drive double to center scored both base runners. That gave Springfield the lead and their pitching staff made it hold up. Each squad managed just four hits.

Wednesday's game: day off as they travel home to take on division rival and leader Tulsa (COL) for four games. Springfield currently stands in second, three games back.

Palm Beach 9 at Bradenton 6

Palm Beach took a large lead into the bottom of the eighth and held on to win, 9-6. The road victory gives Palm Beach a 5-7 record and pulls them into a fourth-place tie with Bradention (PIT), five games out.

The Cardinals scored in three of their first four innings with a run in the second, three in the third and two more in the fourth. That gave Palm Beach a commanding 6-1 lead after four which they extended to 9-1 with a three-run eighth. But the Marauders came charging back with three in the bottom of the eighth and two more in the ninth.

Palm Beach had 12 hits with four players having multi-hit games. Designated hitter Chris Edmondson had a two-run bomb in the third to go along with a double that added to his 3-for-5 night with two runs scored. Centerfielder Nick Longmire went 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and two driven in. He stole three bases as well.

Seth Maness (W, 2-0) scattered seven hits over six innings with just one run, earned, and that on a solo blast in the fourth. He struck out six and did not walk a batter. The 23-year-old has yet to walk a batter in 20 innings this season. Aidan Lucas replaced Maness and gave up three runs, one earned, on two hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings. Chase Reid got out of the two-on and two-out situation inherited from Lucas with a strike out, but he then gave up two runs, earned, on three hits in the ninth.

Wednesday's game: day off. They begin a three-game set at St. Lucie (NYM) on Thursday

Quad Cities 2, Clinton 1

Quad Cities hosted Clinton (SEA) in a pitching duel on Tuesday and the River Bandits were the 2-1 survivors. The team improves to 8-4 on the season, topping the Western Division by a game over Kane County (KC).

Starter Tyrell Jenkins' first start since April 5th was a dandy. The 19-year-old gave up a two-out single followed by a free pass in the first but went on to retire the next 10 LumberKings he faced. Jenkins struck out four in his four innings with seven ground outs to no fly outs. Willy Paulino gave up one of the three hits Clinton managed on the night in his two-inning stint. Paulino struck out three and did not walk a batter. Robert Stock replaced Paulino to start the seventh and went 1 2/3 innings, giving up a run on a hit and two walks during that span. Stock (W, 1-0) struck out one and was charged with a wild pitch. Heath Wyatt (S, 2) was perfect against the four batters he faced, striking out two of the four.

It was a scoreless duel until the seventh when Clinton plated a run. Quad Cities came back in the bottom of the frame with two of their own against the Clinton bullpen. First baseman Jeremy Patton singled leading off and was sacrificed to second by left fielder Roberto Reyes. Second baseman Luis Mateo doubled home Patton and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He scored the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly to center by catcher Jesus Montero. That inning saw the River Bandits collect two of the four hits they had on the night. Pitching was the theme of this game.

Wednesday's game: vs. Clinton, 7:00 pm CT, Hector Hernandez (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

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