Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/27/12

Thursday was an off-night for pitchers in St. Louis' minors as only two staffs held their opponents to under five runs. One of those two still lost. Johnson City and the GCL Cardinals were the only victors.

Nashville 7 vs. Memphis 3

Tallies in three consecutive frames led to Memphis' defeat by Nashville 7-3 on the road. The Redbirds (41-64) are clinging to third place, ½ game ahead of Iowa (CHC) and 21 1/2 behind Omaha (KC).

Nick Additon (L, 3-8) retired the first six batters he faced, three via strike out, before escaping a bases-loaded fix that was due to two walks and a hit batsman in the third. The lefty gave up an unearned run in the fourth and exited after putting on the first two batters in the fifth. Maikel Cleto allowed both runners to cross to give Additon a final line of three runs, one earned, on three hits and three walks in four plus. Additon struck out nine.

Cleto's final line was even uglier than Additon's: Three runs, earned, on four hits in 1 1/3 with three strikeouts. One of Nashville's four tallies in the sixth was charged to Adam Reifer, who yielded two hits and two base-on-balls in 1 2/3. Eduardo Sanchez fanned the side for a perfect eighth.

Memphis knocked in two in the sixth to cut Nashville's lead to 3-2 and added a final run in the ninth. The squad's seven hits were scattered among six players. Six Redbirds either touched home or had an RBI. Adron Chambers was on base three times with a single, double and a walk.

Friday's game: at Nashville, 7:05 pm CT, Brandon Dickson (5-8, 3.82)

Arkansas 8 at Springfield 4

Springfield dropped the rubber game of three against second-place Arkansas 8-4. The S-Cards (22-10) remain in first, 5 ½ up.

The Cardinals were ahead 4-2 after five, but three each in the sixth and seventh spun the lead over to the Travelers. Seth Maness was charged with his second loss against eight wins. Three of the five runs he allowed in six frames came via two long balls that were part of his eight hits. Maness did not walk a batter, as is typical for him, and fanned four.

Three more earned runs were the responsibility of Deryk Hooker and came on three hits, a walk and a wild pitch in just 2/3 of an inning. Former closer Keith Butler inherited a second-and-third with two outs situation and allowed one runner to cross on one of the three hits he yielded in 1 1/3. New closer Jorge Rondon faced the minimum in the ninth.

Greg Garcia accounted for two of the team's runs by going 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, a run scored and an RBI. Jamie Romak also touched home once, knocked in one and reached base twice on a hit and a free pass. Xavier Scruggs went 2-for-4 with a run driven in.

Friday's game: at fourth-place Northwest Arkansas (KC) (7-26), 7:00 pm CT, Scott McGregor (3-1, 5.76)

Tampa 6 vs. Palm Beach 4

The Beach Birds could not overcome a 6-0 deficit through four as they fell at Tampa 6-4. Palm Beach (17-18) remains in the thick of a tight race in the South Division in which four games separate first from sixth (last) place. They are tied with Fort Myers (MIN) for third, two games behind Bradenton (PIT).

The damage could have been much worse since starter Kyle Hald yielded a whopping 14 hits in six frames. Only two of the 14 went for extra bases, both of those by the same Tampa batter. The Yankees were 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Reliever Aidan Lucas fanned three over two innings with one hit.

Half of the Cardinals' tallies came on Starlin Rodriguez' home run in the fifth. The second baseman added an RBI single as well and was the only player with more than one hit. Palm Beach went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Friday's game: at Tampa, 7:00 pm ET, Todd McInnis (1-6, 5.26)

Clinton 5 vs. Quad Cities 4

Quad Cities rallied to tie with four in the top of the ninth only to fall 5-4 at Clinton in regulation. The River Bandits (16-16) are tied with Kane County (KC) for third, three games behind Clinton (SEA).

Danny Miranda (L, 4-5) yielded the Lumberkings' fourth tally of the contest on two hits in the eighth and was surprisingly allowed to start the ninth. Two singles and a sac bunt later put runners at second and third with one out for Heath Wyatt. Wyatt recorded the second out with a play at the plate, intentionally walked the next batter and yielded the game-winning single.

Hector Hernandez was an inning shy of making his third straight quality start. The southpaw limited Clinton to single runs in the first and fourth. Hernandez gave up six hits and a base-on-balls in five innings with six strikeouts. Jonathan Cornelius shut out the opposition in the sixth but Ricky Martinez served up a solo bomb in the seventh.

Five of the River Bandits' eight hits came in the ninth with the big blows being David Bergin's two-run blast and Anthony Melchionda's single with two outs that knocked in Luis Mateo for the tying score. Melchionda added a double to his single and was the only Bandit with more than one hit.

Friday's game: at Clinton, 7:00 pm CT, Brad Watson (1-0, 3.60)

Brooklyn 7 at Batavia 1

Batavia led for the first seven innings but not the crucial last two as they were flattened by Brooklyn 7-1 at home. The squad has dropped the first two of their three games with the Cyclones and four straight overall. The Muckdogs (19-18) have fallen into a tie with Mahoning Valley (CLE) for third, four games in back of Auburn (WSH).

Starter Tyler Melling and reliever Lee Stoppelman shut out the Cyclones on four hits and a base-on-balls over the first 6 2/3. Brandon Creath recorded the final out in the seventh to strand two inherited runners but could only retire one batter in the eighth. Creath coughed up five runs, four earned, on four hits and two walks. Joe Scanio inherited a bases-loaded/one-out jam and allowed all three runners to cross before getting the third out. Scanio yielded two runs in the ninth that were unearned due to his own throwing error.

Back-to-back singles by Alex Mejia and Breyvic Valera brought Garrett Wittels up to bat in the first. Wittels' single to third knocked in Mejia for the Muckdogs' only tally. Wittels also doubled and joined Danny Stienstra as the only Batavia players with a multi-hit game.

Friday's game: vs. Brooklyn, 7:05 pm ET, Joey Cuda (3-0, 3.14)

Johnson City 6 at Danville 5 (10)

The third hits of the game for our co-Players of the Day Ronald Castillo and Cesar Valera resulted in the game-winning tally as Johnson City edged Danville 6-5 in 10. The Cardinals (16-17) remain in third, 7 ½ behind Elizabethton (MIN).

Left fielder Castillo's third hit was his second double of the game and put him in scoring position for the JC-Cards' shortstop. Valera's two-out single drove in Castillo to break a tie that had stood since the seventh. Third baseman Carson Kelly went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. His solo shot in the seventh knotted the contest at five all. Jeremy Schaffer also had three hits, including a fifth-inning solo long ball and two RBIs.

Jeff Rauh, the fifth Cardinals pitcher, tossed a scoreless ninth for his third win. He fanned two and walked one. Starter Victor De Leon gave up a run in the first and exited with three more across, two on and two out in the second. Thomas Lee, Mike Aldrete and Dixon Llorens combined to keep Danville off the board over the next 6 1/3. Ronnie Shaban stranded the tying run at third to earn his ninth save.

Friday's game: at Danville, 7:00 pm ET, Silfredo Garcia (1-1, 2.38)

GCL Cardinals 5 vs. GCL Nationals 0

Four Gulf Birds pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout as the Cardinals (23-11) downed the Nationals 5-0 at home. The team remains in first place, six games up on the GCL Astros.

All four hits came in the first five innings off starter Ramon Ulacio, who had eight ground outs, three fly outs and three strikeouts. Burny Mitchem (two innings) joined Josh Renfro (one) and Anderson Gerdel (one) to no-hit their opponents over the last four frames. The staff did not issue a free pass.

The Gulf Birds tallied one in the third before breaking the game open with four in the sixth. The Cardinals displayed a balanced offense with six players each having one hit. The biggest belonged to first baseman Jem Argenal, who launched a grand slam. Lead-off hitter Anthony Bryant went 1-for-3 with a walk, a tally and one driven in.

Friday's game: vs. GCL Marlins, 12:00 pm ET, Seth Blair

DSL Astros 3 vs. DSL Cardinals 1

The Dominican Birds generated just two hits in their 3-1 defeat at the DSL Astros. The Cardinals (23-23) slip to fifth place with the loss, 12 games in back of the DSL Mariners.

Hector Salazar (L, 2-2) had one of the better pitching performances in St. Louis' minors on Thursday but it went for naught. The 18-year-old right-hander fanned eight in 6 1/3. He was charged with three runs, two earned, on eight hits but no walks. Esteban Vallejo held the Astros to two hits and a free pass over the final 1 2/3.

The Cardinals' only run scored in the seventh. Two Astros' pitchers loaded the bases on three free passes and catcher Jose Godoy's sac fly to center brought third baseman Leobaldo Pina across.

Friday's game: at DSL Athletics, 10:30 am ET, Isaac Silva (1-1, 3.42)

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