The Redbirds won their second straight at Oklahoma City and started their first winning streak of the 2013 season, but made it scary when they almost blew a seven-run lead.
Starter Michael Wacha allowed three runs, two earned, in five innings of work. The big right-hander yielded five hits, including a home run, one walk and fanned three in what became his first Triple-A win.
After scratching out four runs in the top of the second, Memphis doubled its score when Justin Christian launched a grand slam in the third.
The pen was shaky, with Sam Freeman charged with one run and two more crossing home against Eric Fornataro. After three blown saves, Victor Marte finally logged his first save of the season. Despite allowing two hits in the ninth, the 32-year-old kept the RedHawks from tying the game.
Sunday's game: at Oklahoma City (HOU), 2:05 pm CT, Tyler Lyons (1-0, 2.57)
The Cardinals got out on top via a two-run home run by shortstop Jake Lemmerman in the first. However, the Hooks scored two in the fourth off starter Boone Whiting to tie it up. After five, Whiting turned the ball over to Dean Kiekhefer, who surrendered the lead for good via an RBI double in the top of the sixth.
Righty reliever Kevin Thomas kept the game close with two scoreless innings, including three strikeouts, but the offense could not close the gap. Overall, the Cards had just eight hits. Designated hitter Ruben Gotay went 2-for-4 with two doubles.
Sunday's game: vs. San Antonio (SD), 4:09 pm CT, Seth Blair (0-0, 4.50)
Jupiter 4 at Palm Beach 3 (Game 2 – seven innings)
Friday night's rescheduled game between Palm Beach and Jupiter at their shared facility at Roger Dean Stadium was the first contest, followed by their regularly-scheduled Saturday game. Both were shortened to seven innings.
Game 1 got off to a fast start due to Nick Longmire's first inning grand slam. In the fourth inning, left fielder Anthony Garcia added a three-run blast of his own, making the score 10-2. The Cards tacked on four more unanswered tallies.
Garcia reached base all four times up on a walk, two singles and the home run. The outfielder scored three runs and plated four. Longmire went 3-for-5. Colin Walsh had two singles and a double, drove in one and scored twice.
Starter Tim Cooney yielded 11 hits in five innings, but helped himself by not walking anyone and picking off two baserunners. The lefty allowed two runs, one earned. Lee Stoppelman and Iden Nazario finished off the Hammerheads with a scoreless inning each.
In the nightcap, the Cardinals were the home club. Jupiter won its first game of the season in nine tries.
An RBI single by Jonathan Rodriguez put Palm Beach up in the first. A few minutes later, a two-run double against starter Tyler Melling reversed the one-run lead. A throwing error by third baseman Tyler Rahmatulla allowed Jupiter's third run to cross home plate in the fourth.
The Beach Birds tied the game in the home fourth via a two-run home run by catcher Cody Stanley. In his first inning of work following Melling, reliever Brandon Creath yielded the go-ahead run and the final tally of the game in the top of the sixth.
Stanley went 3-for-4. Leadoff man and centerfielder James Ramsey was also on base three times with a walk, single and double. Player of the Day Garcia finished the twin bill 4-for-7 including a home run, a walk, three runs scored and four RBI.
Sunday's game: at Jupiter (MIA), 1:05 pm ET, Jonathan Cornelius (0-0, 13.50)
The visiting Chiefs, with a roster featuring 10 former River Bandits, lost a three-run then a two-run lead, unable to hold the edge either time. Five Peoria errors led to four unearned Quad Cities runs.
Nick Martini, Geoff Klein and Michael Swinson had consecutive RBI singles in the second to give Peoria an early 3-0 bulge. Pitcher Dail Villanueva began his own problems in the home third by issuing a walk and committing a throwing error. A two-run triple sandwiched around a sac fly and an RBI groundout in which Villanueva was late to cover first base gave the Bandits the lead in what was the starter's final inning of work.
Peoria brought out the extra-base bats in the sixth with Ildemaro Vargas' two-run double preceding left fielder Breyvic Valera's triple, which scored Vargas. The Chiefs were briefly up 6-4 at that point.
Relievers Jhonny Polanco and Zach Petrick ran into trouble in the bottom of the frame. Among the problems included a leadoff walk, fielding error by Valera, a passed ball and one of Geoff Klein's two errors, all of which contributed to Quad Cities scoring three and re-taking the lead. Polanco took the loss and Petrick the blown save.
Shortstop Alex Mejia went 2-for-3, stealing his first base of the season and scoring twice.
Sunday's game: at Quad Cities (HOU), 2:00 pm CT, Tyrell Jenkins (0-0, 5.40 ERA)
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.