Memphis scored double-digit runs for the second straight game but dominated this time. The Redbirds turned a narrow 3-1 mid-game lead into an 18-2 laugher over New Orleans (MIA) at AutoZone Park Monday night.
The star of the game, the system and the minor leagues on the evening was veteran Jamie Romak, who blasted a career-high three home runs and collected six RBI. The outfielder increased his take each time, with a solo shot in the second, a two-run blast in the fifth and a three-run jolt in the sixth.
Perhaps in his last chance for regular playing time, shortstop Vance Albitz went 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. His keystone partner, second baseman Kolten Wong, collected three hits, scored three and drove in one.
Outfielder Oscar Taveras rejoined the club from the Dominican Republic where he went on family leave to start the season. The Cardinals top prospect entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and went 1-for-2 with an RBI single and a run scored.
Not to be lost among all the hitting was Tyler Lyons' strong performance. The lefty earned the win, yielding just two runs on seven hits. He struck out three and walked none over seven frames.
Tuesday's game: vs. New Orleans (MIA), 7:02 pm CT, Nick Additon (season debut)
No matter how good the Double-A club's pitching may be, wins will be hard to come by with an offense consistently scoring just two runs. So was the story again on Monday night in San Antonio. The Missions plated two in the first, but the Cardinals came back with single tallies in the second and fifth to re-tie the game before the bullpen faltered in the final innings.
First baseman Xavier Scruggs provided much of the S-Cards' offense, with a solo home run in the second inning and two walks in four plate appearances. Pinch-hitting for starting pitcher Seth Blair in the fifth, Starlin Rodriguez doubled and came around to score on a fielding error by the Hooks' shortstop. The Cards had just eight hits in total, stranding nine baserunners.
In his Double-A debut, Blair was allowed to throw 70 pitches over four innings. The right-hander allowed just the two runs on five hits and three walks. Blair fanned two. The Hooks pulled away with two tallies against Kevin Siegrist in the seventh and another off Ramon Delgado in the eighth.
Tuesday's game: at San Antonio (SD), 7:05 pm CT, Richard Castillo (0-1, 3.00)
With a 3-1 record in the early going, the A-Advanced Cardinals are one game out of the lead in the six-team Florida State League South. Ft. Myers (MIN) and St. Lucie (NYM) are on top at 4-0 each. The Cardinals hope to take down one of those leaders as the Mets arrive in Jupiter starting Tuesday night.
Tuesday's game: vs. St. Lucie (NYM), 6:35 PM ET, Travis Miller (season debut)
Peoria welcomed their second visiting Midwest League opponent, the Beloit Snappers (OAK), with a Monday night win. The victory was the Chiefs third in a row as they improved their record to 3-2.
The home club got on the board early. After a Patrick Wisdom double, Jacob Wilson launched a home run for the second consecutive night. The Chiefs played small ball the rest of the way with single tallies in the fifth and sixth with Breyvic Valera and Jordan Walton collecting the RBIs.
Starter Joey Cuda earned the win, striking out five batters in five innings while surrendering eight hits but just the one run. The Chiefs pen continues to be a strength in the early going as Corey Baker threw two scoreless innings while striking out four. Zach Petrick finished, earning the first save of his pro career with five strikeouts over two shutout innings. The three combined to fan 14 Snappers.
The Peoria relievers have yielded just three earned runs in five games and only one in their last 20 2/3 innings of work.
Tuesday's game: vs. Beloit (OAK), 6:30 pm CT, Hector Hernandez (season debut)
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
© 2013 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.