In the battle to remain out of last place in the Pacific Coast League American North, the home Cubs pulled ahead by two games as they took the first contest of the four-game set on Saturday night.
After the Cubs picked up a unearned run in the first, the Redbirds pulled even briefly in the third before Scott Gorgen allowed a two-run home run. The starter departed after 3 2/3 frames. Jess Todd and Adam Reifer pitched shutout ball the rest of the way, but the offense could not recover.
Sunday's game: Memphis at Iowa (CHC), 1:05 pm CT, TBA
The Cardinals finished the first inning ahead 3-2, but couldn't hold the brief lead as the Hooks clobbered starter Scott McGregor with six runs in the second on their way to the blowout win. McGregor was pulled with two out in the second with three of his eight runs allowed unearned due to a Xavier Scruggs throwing error. Chase Reid yielded two more tallies over 3 2/3 and Kevin Thomas gave up two more in just 2/3 of an inning via a three-run homer. Deryk Hooker did a nice job in garbage time, fanning five in 2 2/3 scoreless.
In the first inning, Scruggs hit a two-run homer, his 20th of the season. He has 86 RBI, two ahead of Oscar Taveras. Taveras had just one hit, but it was a two-run double and he added his 10th stolen base. After going 2-for-5, third baseman Jermaine Curtis pulled ahead of the centerfielder in the batting race, .321 to .320. Leadoff man Kolten Wong continues to show renewed vigor with a pair of doubles and two runs scored.
Sunday's game: vs. Corpus Christi (HOU), 6:08 pm CT, Richard Castillo (7-4, 3.69)
The reeling Cardinals dropped their fifth straight and second in two nights to the visiting Miracle. Palm Beach pitchers issued a total of 11 walks and yielded 10 hits to a club that came into town on a five-game losing skid of its own.
Kyle Hald took the defeat after allowing 10 baserunners over the first 5 2/3, with three of them scoring. The game got away from the Cards in the eighth as Iden Nazario, just down from Double-A, and Drew Benes yielded the final three tallies between them.
There isn't much to say about the Cardinals offense other than there wasn't much of it. The lineup managed just four hits. Another new returnee from Springfield, Alan Ahmady, drove in the only run with an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth inning. That scored Chris Edmondson, who had singled.
Sunday's game: vs. Fort Myers (MIN), 5:05 pm ET, Todd McInnis (2-6, 4.88)
Tyrell Jenkins finally won his first home game in his 11th start in Davenport, allowing just one run over the first five innings. The 20-year-old gave up four hits, three walks and fanned seven. After new arrival Yunior Castillo and Ricky Martinez combined for three scoreless, Dixon Llorens got into major trouble in the ninth. After Llorens was touched for three runs, including a two-run homer, Kyle Barraclough secured the final out and the save, his second.
Leadoff man Nick Longmire, playing well since his demotion from Palm Beach, raised his average to .313 after a 3-for-4 night that included a double. The centerfielder also walked and drove in one. After missing the better part of a week for an undisclosed reason, Anthony Garcia marked his return with a three-run home run, his team-leading 17th. Matt Williams was on base twice with a single and walk, stole his 20th base of the season and scored two.
Sunday's game: Quad Cities vs. Beloit (MIN), 5:00 pm CT, Sam Gaviglio (7-8, 4.26)
The Muckdogs continue their late-season surge as Jacob Wilson's home run in the top of the ninth was the winning margin. Batavia has won five in a row and sit just three games out of first.
Our Player of the Day, starter Tim Cooney, was very sharp. The third-round draft pick yielded no runs on four hits and a walk over six innings. The lefty fanned five while lowering his season ERA to 2.36. Jose Pasen allowed three in the seventh and eighth, assisted by Brandon Creath, who took a blown save, but was also awarded the vulture win.
Third baseman Patrick Wisdom got the Muckdogs ahead in the top of the first via a two-run home run, his fourth as a pro.
Sunday's games: two at Auburn (WAS), one resuming the 7/23 suspended game, 6:05 pm ET, Kyle Helisek (2-2, 2.93)
The Cardinals mounted a stirring comeback for the second consecutive night. This time, they started the rally with two out in the ninth, plating four for the walk-off win. Key blows were an RBI double by Ildemaro Vargas, a run-scoring triple off the bat of Jeremy Schaffer and the winner, a single by Trevor Martin.
Everything appeared in order for the Cards through the middle innings as starter Victor De Leon departed after five with a 5-1 lead. Reliever Jeff Rauh had a rough night, allowing five runs in 1 1/3. Eventual winner Roberto Canache did not begin well, either. The 22-year-old right-hander took a blown save after two unearned runs scored in the seventh before he buckled down to hold Princeton scoreless over the final two frames.
Ricardo Lizcaino, playing right field, raised his season average to .208 on a 3-for-3 night plus a walk that included his first professional home run, a three-run shot in the fourth inning. Left-fielder Ronald Castillo went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.
Sunday's game: vs. Princeton (TB), 6:00 pm ET, Stalyn Lopez (3-3, 5.05)
Max Foody had another rough outing, as he was pulled with two outs in the first with the bases loaded and three runs already in. That raised the lefty's ERA to an unsightly 12.33. Javier Machuca escaped the jam, as he and Ramon Ulacio were asked to eat innings. They did, while allowing a run and two, respectively, over the next 6 1/3 frames.
With former major leaguer Alex Sanabia starting for the Fish, it wasn't surprising the Cards did not score during his four frames. Yet they managed just one run over the final five innings against three relievers. Second baseman Brett Wiley was on base four times with two singles, a double and a walk in five plate appearances. Anthony Bryant had one fewer single, but drove in the lone Cards tally and stole his 18th base of the summer.
Sunday's game: off. With a six-game lead, the Cards are well-positioned to clinch in their final week of the regular season starting Monday.
The Cardinals worked their way back from an early 4-0 deficit to take the Saturday win. Starter Dewin Perez left after all four Tribe runs had scored, three earned, in 2 1/3 innings. Four relievers tossed a combined four-hitter the rest of the way, with Fernando Baez getting the win after 3 1/3 one-hit frames and Ismael Brito adding his 14th save after a scoreless ninth.
Sunday's game: off. The final week of 2012 play begins on Monday with the Cards already eliminated from the playoffs.
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