The game was scoreless until the home club pushed a run across on a pair of doubles against Memphis starter Shelby Miller. The right-hander departed with one out in the sixth with a runner on third base. Adam Reifer then fanned the next two batters to escape. On the evening, Miller allowed five hits and three walks, fanning eight.
The Redbirds tied up the game in the eighth. Eugenio Velez singled, stole second base and scored on Matt Adams' RBI single. With Barret Browning the pitcher of record, Memphis plated four in the top of the tenth inning. Mark Hamilton singled home the lead run, Pete Kozma added a sacrifice fly, one scored on a wild pitch and the final score came home on another sacrifice fly, this time by Cedric Hunter.
Eduardo Sanchez set down his three batters in order in the home tenth, including a strikeout to complete the comeback win.
Adams went 3-for-5, raising his batting average to .337. Hamilton and Hunter had two hits each.
Sunday's game: at Round Rock, 1:05 pm CT, Nick Additon (0-2, 5.74)
Michael Blazek continues his recovery from an early season funk with his second good start in a row. The right-hander threw six innings, allowing just one run in each of his first and last frames of the evening at Hammons Field. Blazek gave up two hits, walked two and struck out six Arkansas batters en route to his first win of the season.
More importantly, the Cardinals won their fourth in five games after saying goodbye to a dreadful 10-game losing streak.
Eric Fornataro pitched the scoreless seventh and eighth innings, and Keith Butler picked up his third save of the season after he threw a hitless ninth. The pair retired the last nine Travelers in a row.
Sunday's game: Springfield vs. Arkansas, 2:08 pm CT, Tyler Lyons (1-3, 3.80)
In a game I witnessed in person, the home Cardinals came storming back with five runs in the bottom of the ninth for the win. The newest-old Cardinal, third baseman Niko Vasquez, had the walkoff, a two-out, two-RBI single in his first game back in the Florida State League.
The comeback made a winner of reliever Chase Reid. Starter Drew Benes allowed three earned runs in six innings. Reliever Zack Russell was touched for three runs in the sixth. Though only one was earned, it seemed to put the game out of reach.
Luis De La Cruz had three hits, a run scored and an RBI. Leadoff man Mike O'Neill had two hits and two runs batted in while raising his season average to .347. Shortstop Ronny Gil singled, doubled and scored.
Sunday's game: vs. Brevard County, 5:05 pm EST, Kevin Siegrist (season debut)
The River Bandits treated their Peoria rival roughly in the home series opener Saturday night. Starter Dail Villanueva allowed just two runs over seven innings, with just one earned. The left-hander went at least six innings for the fourth consecutive start and lowered his ERA to 2.97.
The big story on the night was the hitting, however. Our Co-Players of the Day, third baseman Tyler Rahmatulla and first baseman Roberto De La Cruz, each went 4-for-6 with four RBI. De La Cruz, right fielder Virgil Hill and designated hitter Colin Walsh each hit home runs and centerfielder Nick Martini tripled and scored four times to put an exclamation point on the biggest offensive night across the system so far in 2012.
The Bandits offense put Villanueva at ease as they put a seven-spot on the board in the first inning and had a two touchdown lead, 14-0, after four innings. Every Quad Cities batter got into the action, each getting on base at least twice via hit and walk.
De La Cruz hit his first home run to right field leading off the fifth and added a two-run double to left-center in the sixth. Rahmatulla hit a run-scoring double in a three-run sixth and drove home the final two runs with another double in the seventh.
The only minor blemish on the night for the River Bandits came when right-hander Kevin Jacob gave up three runs in the eighth on two singles and three walks. Right-hander Brandon Creath pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
The River Bandits pulled into a tie with Beloit for second place in the Midwest League Western Division, two games behind front-runner Wisconsin.
Sunday's game: vs. Peoria, 2:00 pm CT, Hector Hernandez (1-2)
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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