Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2012 Week 14

Chris Swauger's average rose to .309 as he slammed two home runs to go with 10 RBIs during the Cardinals 2-3 week 14.

Springfield's offense struggled to get going this week as Kolten Wong and Oscar Taveras left the team to participate in the MLB Futures Game in Kansas City. Both Wong and Taveras were mentioned among the liveliest personalities in their respective dugouts for the weekend.

Thursday, July 5th, Springfield 7 at Frisco 11

After a 5-1 homestand, the Springfield Cardinals traveled south to Frisco to begin a six-game road trip starting with a three-game set against the RoughRiders at Dr. Pepper Ballpark.

Springfield sent Scott McGregor to the mound coming off his first win against former Missouri Tiger Nick Tepesch. Unfortunately, McGregor was not as sharp this time around. He left the game after the fourth inning, allowing six runs on nine hits. Jorge Rondon followed with two perfect innings to keep Springfield within striking distance before Deryk Hooker entered and allowed two runs on two hits in the seventh. Eric Fornataro suffered a similar fate, allowing three runs on two hits in the eighth.

Springfield bats weren't exactly quiet as they scraped out seven runs on 12 hits. Chris Swauger had the biggest game offensively, going 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Adam Melker had two RBIs of his own on a home run in the fifth inning. Jamie Romak added a solo shot in the ninth, his third of the year. The only other RBI for the Cardinals was driven in by Xavier Scruggs, who went 2-for-4 with a double. Oscar Taveras added his 24th double of the season in the tough loss.

Friday, July 6th, Springfield 1 at Frisco 5

Looking to bounce back, the Cardinals sent Kevin Siegrist to the mound in his Double-A debut. Siegrist allowed three runs in the second and two in the fifth before leaving the game having thrown just 4 2/3 innings and surrendering the five runs on six hits. Following Siegrist, the Cardinals got 3 1/3 scoreless innings from Jesse Simpson and Kevin Thomas, allowing just one hit the rest of the way, but Springfield fell for the second consecutive night for the first time since the start of the second half.

It took a while for the Cardinals to score. The only run came on back to back doubles by Jermaine Curtis and Oscar Taveras in the 6th. The RBI was Taveras' 63rd of the season. Scruggs also had a nice game, going 2-for-4 at the plate with his 12th double of the season.

Saturday, July 7th, Springfield 2 at Frisco 5

Trying to avoid the sweep in Frisco, the Cardinals sent righty Richard Castillo to the mound. Castillo retired seven straight batters heading into the 4th inning before the wheels came off and he allowed four runs in the next two innings to suffer the loss. Justin Wright followed in the sixth and allowed another run on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. Michael Blazek and Keith Butler threw perfect seventh and eighth innings, respectively, to round out the pitching for Springfield.

Consistent with the rest of the series, the Cardinals struggled to get runs across the plate. Missing Taveras and Wong, who were gone to the MLB Futures Game in Kansas City, the lineup struggled to find their rhythm. Swauger drove in the only runs for the Cardinals with a two-run home run on the third, his eighth of the season. Adam Melker added a nice game, going 2-for-3 at the dish.

Sunday, July 8th, Springfield 2 at Midland 1 (11 innings)

Springfield headed to Midland to Sunday night aiming to get back in sync. Carlos Martinez got the call for the Cardinals and was dominant. He allowed just one first-inning run in a season-high six innings of work, surrendering four hits and two walks. Rondon followed retiring five batters through the seventh and eighth. Fornataro recorded the final out of the eighth and added a scoreless ninth. Securing the win was the closer, Keith Butler, who threw scoreless 10th and 11th innings, striking out four Midland batters.

Springfield hitters didn't get a run across until the eighth when Jermaine Curtis tied the game. Scruggs was the hero for the Cardinals as he led off the top of the 11th. On the very first pitch, the first baseman launched a solo homer to give Springfield the win. Scruggs was 3-for-5 and also added a double. Chris Swauger and Greg Garcia were each 2-for-4.

Monday, July 9th, Springfield 13 at Midland 3

Seth Maness, who was coming off a seven inning shutout performance on the 4th of July, got the ball for Springfield. Maness was dominant again as he left after five shutout innings having allowed just three hits with two strikeouts. Jesse Simpson gave the Cardinals two scoreless innings out of the bullpen. In the eighth, Kevin Thomas allowed Midland's only three runs. Deryk Hooker threw a scoreless 9th to finish off the win.

Springfield finally wasted no time getting on the board as they plated six first-inning runs. Swauger, who was 2-for-4, led the offense with a grand slam and six RBIs. Jake Shaffer, also 2-for-4, blasted a two-run homer and later added another RBI. Audry Perez had a two-run triple down the right field line and Jamie Romak collected the Cardinals other RBI on a single to right.

Tuesday, July 10th, Springfield at Midland - cancelled (rain)

Jake Shaffer slammed a solo home run that won't count as the rain came in the fifth and delayed the game for over an hour and half before the umpires called the field unfit for play and the game was cancelled.

Who's Hot

Chris Swauger – The outfielder had a monster week that included two home runs, 10 RBIs and his batting average has risen to .309.

Xavier Scruggs - Coming off of his hot June, Scruggs continues to hit. After a rough start to the season, his average now sits at .249 and his week included a game-winning home run at Midland.

Who's Not

Kevin Siegrist - Unfortunately, Siegrist's Double-A debut did not go so well as he went 4 2/3 innings surrendering five runs on six hits.

Team Transactions

July 7 - INF Anthony Melchionda - Received from Quad Cities to fill in for Kolten Wong while he was away to the Futures Game.

July 9 - INF Anthony Melchionda - Sent to Batavia without having made an appearance in a game for Springfield

Second Half Division Standings

Texas League North W L PCT GB Home Away L 10 Streak
Springfield Cardinals (STL) 11 6 .647 - 5-1 6-5 6-4 W2
Tulsa Drillers (COL) 8 10 .444 3.5 6-5 2-5 6-4 W1
Arkansas Travelers (LAA) 7 11 .389 4.5 3-5 4-6 3-7 L1
NW Arkansas Naturals (KC) 5 13 .278 6.5 4-8 1-5 2-8 W1

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#2 Carlos Martinez – The righty phenom delivered his strongest performance yet with Springfield this week going six innings, allowing one run on three hits. Through five Double-A starts, Martinez's ERA now sits at 2.53.

#3 Oscar Taveras –Along with adding his 63rd RBI and his 25th double of the season this week in Springfield, Taveras shined in the spotlight in Kansas City, going 1-for-3 in the Futures Game and getting robbed of extra bases in his second at-bat.

#4 Kolten Wong - Wong had a quiet week in Springfield but was anything but quiet in Kansas City as he showed off his speed, going to third from home on an infield miscue. He also proved the "Wizard" may have taught him a thing or two during his visit to Springfield as Wong pulled out the Ozzie Smith backflip when taking the field for the Futures Game.

#12 Trevor Rosenthal – Rosenthal is still shelved on the DL with a lower back strain.

#31 Jermaine Curtis - Curtis delivered a late inning RBI this week to tie the game and send it to extras for the Cardinals win.

#38 Keith Butler – No saves this period for Butler. He did, however, throw two scoreless innings in extras to earn the Cards first win of the week.

What's Next

The Cardinals return home to Hammons Field on Thursday night looking to maintain their 2 1/2 game lead in the Texas League North as they host the Northwest Arkansas Naturals for four games before making a short trip to Tulsa for four games.

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