Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 05/01/12

The system finished April on a winning note as Memphis, Palm Beach and Quad Cities were all victorious on Monday. Springfield's losing streak extended to 10 games.

Memphis 5, Iowa 4

Memphis edged Iowa 5-4 at home on Monday behind the big bat of a familiar name. The win pushed the Redbirds' record for April to 10-14 as they moved into second place in the American North Division, 6 ½ games behind Omaha.

Allen Craig drove in all five of Memphis' runs on two home runs. His initial slam came in the first with two aboard and put the Redbirds on top 3-0. Craig's second came in the fifth with one on and flipped the score from trailing 4-3 to up 5-4. Craig had three hits in all and played first base in what should be his final rehab game with the Redbirds. Shortstop Ryan Jackson was aboard twice on two singles when Craig knocked them out. Adron Chambers scored the other run.

Craig's outing made starter Shelby Miller (W, 3-2) the winning pitcher. Miller gave up all four of the Cubs' runs on seven hits and four walks in just five innings. He threw 91 pitches, 61 for strikes. Nick Greenwood (two innings) and Adam Reifer (one) bridged the scoreless gap to closer Eduardo Sanchez. Sanchez (S, 5) had a good outing by striking out the side sandwiched around a one-out walk.

Tuesday's game: vs. Iowa, 7:05 pm CT, Nick Additon (0-1, 3.52 ERA)

Tulsa 3, Springfield 2

The S-Cards took a 2-0 shutout into the bottom of the ninth but could not seal the win as they went down in Tulsa 3-2. Springfield's losing streak has now reached double digits as they finish an eight-game road trip. The Cardinals' record now stands at 8-16, fourth place in the North Division, 10 games back of Tulsa (COL).

Jorge Rondon (L, 0-1) wears the goat horns for this loss. The right-hander put two runners aboard via a free pass and a hit batsman before giving up a walk-off home run to a 25-year-old player currently batting .180. That outing spoiled an excellent performance by starter Michael Blazek plus relievers Keith Butler and Sam Freeman. Blazek shut out the Drillers on two hits and two walks with two strikeouts in six innings.

Springfield plated its initial run in the first inning when centerfielder Oscar Taveras doubled and came home on Kyle Conley's single. Taveras singled home catcher Audry Perez in the seventh for the Cardinals' other tally. The 19-year-old drew a walk as well.

Tuesday's game: Springfield comes home for two four-game series beginning with NW Arkansas (KC), 7:08 pm CT, Tyler Lyons (0-3, 4.58 ERA)

Palm Beach 7 at Charlotte 4

Palm Beach's 7-4 victory at Charlotte on Monday was a true team effort as the Cardinals swept the Stone Crabs. Palm Beach has won four in a row and has an 11-13 record. They are in a three-way tie with Charlotte (TB) and Bradenton (PIT) for second place, 9 ½ games behind St. Lucie (NYM).

Eight different Cardinals had at least one of Palm Beach's 14 hits, led by second baseman Neal Pritchard. Pritchard, making his Florida State League debut, singled in one of the team's four second-inning runs. He scored twice, had three hits and a walk in his first game since replacing injured Packy Elkins on the roster. Mike O'Neill collected three hits as did Jonathan Rodriguez. O'Neill drove in two while Rodriguez scored once and drove in another.

Carlos Martinez picked up his first win of the season by allowing just two runs in five innings. Three of the six hits he gave up came in the second with the resulting tallies. Martinez (W, 1-1) struck out three and walked two. Zack Russell pitched two scoreless frames, allowing just one hit with one strikeout. Charlotte's final two runs came in the eighth off Ricky Martinez although neither run was earned. Ricky Martinez gave up two walks and a single during his stint. Logan Billbrough (S, 2) tossed a scoreless ninth to seal the win.

Tuesday's game: Palm Beach starts a seven-game home stand with three against Fort Myers (MIN), 6:35 pm EST, Seth Maness (3-0, 0.67 ERA)

Quad Cities 14, South Bend 3

It was a day for the bats as Quad Cities pounded South Bend 14-3 at Modern Woodmen Park. The River Bandits' record went to 13-10 and they finished April in a three-way tie for first with Beloit (MIN) and Wisconsin (MIL).

Quad Cities (16) and South Bend (12) combined for 28 hits as every Quad Cities player had at least one hit. Right fielder Virgil Hill led the way. He was perfect at the plate with two doubles and a triple to go with two walks, four runs driven in and a run scored. Left fielder Anthony Garcia, second baseman Luis Mateo and designated hitter Colin Walsh each hit home runs that accounted for another four runs. It was Garcia's first home run of the year and was part of the four runs he drove in. Mateo drove in three runs and Walsh had a triple to go with his home run as well as scoring three times. First baseman Roberto De La Cruz had two hits and scored twice before leaving at the start of the eighth.

While the River Bandits' pitching gave up 12 hits, they managed to get the outs when needed. Dail Villanueva (W, 2-1) went six innings with two unearned runs charged on eight hits. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. Brandon Creath tossed two scoreless frames while Danny Miranda gave up the Silver Hawks' only earned run on three hits in the ninth.

Tuesday's games: Sunday's postponement means a double-header Tuesday vs. South Bend (ARI). Game one: 5:00 pm CT, Tyrell Jenkins (1-1, 2.38 ERA); Game two: after game one's close, Hector Hernandez (1-1, 2.01 ERA)



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