In just his second game in the Pacific Coast League, lefty Sam Freeman was asked to protect a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning. It didn't work as he allowed a two-run home run. It could have been worse as later in the inning, another runner was thrown out at the plate.
It spoiled a solid Triple-A debut for another lefty, John Gast. Just up from Springfield, Gast allowed three runs on nine hits and no walks over six innings. 62 of his 96 pitches were strikes and he fanned four.
The Redbirds made the most of just six hits, scoring one in the third and two in the fourth. Cedric Hunter crossed the plate on a Eugenio Velez ground out after doubling. In the fourth, in his final at-bat before being pulled from the game, Matt Adams doubled. Steven Hill then singled. Newcomer Jamie Romak's single plated Adams. Hill scored on an odd sacrifice double-play fly ball by Pete Kozma. Former major leaguer Aaron Laffey tossed a complete-game, retiring the final 17 Memphis batters.
Sunday's game: at Las Vegas (TOR), 4:05 pm PT, Joe Kelly (1-4, 3.18)
In his first appearance of the season, Deryk Hooker and the bullpen provided just what the Cardinals needed, a shutout. Hooker had a lot of help from three relievers after his three scoreless innings. Winner and our Player of the Day Michael Blazek added four more shutout frames on two hits with five strikeouts, red-hot Eric Fornataro threw a perfect eighth and Keith Butler ended the game with the tying run at second base for his seventh save. It was as close as the Drillers would come to scoring, as none of their eight baserunners on the evening reached third base.
The only run to cross the plate was tallied in the third when second baseman Kolten Wong launched a solo home run. It was his fourth of the season and second in two nights. Cleanup hitter Kyle Conley added a single and a double, two of the S-Cards' seven hits.
Sunday's game: vs. Tulsa (COL), 2:08 pm CT, Trevor Rosenthal (3-4, 3.29 ERA)
Down 3-0 in the fifth, the Beach Birds plated five for the comeback and final margin. Nick Longmire walked, and in his first game with Palm Beach, designated hitter Jeremy Patton singled to right. Luis De La Cruz' double to right field plated the first run and Vance Albitz' single to the right center gap brought home two. Later in the inning, Rainel Rosario's two-out double scored two more to make it 5-3.
Starter Kevin Siegrist moved from potential loser to winner as he threw five innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Iden Nazario and Chase Reid followed with four innings of no-hit pitching to close out the victory. Reid collected his second save of the season.
Albitz, Ronny Gil, Patton and De La Cruz each had two of Palm Beach's 11 hits.
Sunday's game: vs. Daytona (ChC), 5:05 pm ET, Ryan Sherriff (season debut)
Hector Hernandez headed into the seventh on a four-hitter with 3-1 lead before things went sour in a hurry. After four LumberKings singles and a two-run single allowed by reliever Danny Miranda, the home club pulled ahead for good. Hernandez finished with four earned runs allowed on eight hits and no walks and struck out three over 6 2/3 innings.
Clinton's final run scored in the eighth on a wild pitch by River Bandits right-hander Travis Miller, in his Midwest League debut after arriving from Extended Spring Training earlier in the day.
Quad Cities had tied the game at one in the third inning after two LumberKings miscues. Bandits second baseman Luis Mateo hit a leadoff single to center field and advanced to second on a groundout. He reached third base on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.
The River Bandits broke the tie in the fifth. Singles by left fielder Roberto Reyes and Mateo and a fielder's choice groundout by catcher Casey Rasmus put runners at first and second with one out. Another passed ball advanced both runners, and shortstop Matt Williams' sacrifice fly to center scored Mateo for the go-ahead run. Right fielder Nick Martini then reached on an error by the left-fielder which allowed Rasmus to score.
Quad Cities managed just five hits on the evening, including two each from Mateo and Colin Walsh. Tyler Rahmatulla's hitting streak ended at eight games but Walsh matched his team high for the season with a hit in his eighth straight game.
Sunday's game: at Clinton (SEA), 2:00 pm CT, Tyrell Jenkins (1-2, 2.17)
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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