Saturday night's Pacific Coast League contest between the Redbirds and their cross-state rival, the Nashville Sounds (MIL), at Greer Stadium was postponed due to rain. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader of two seven-inning games on Sunday afternoon, April 28.
The visiting Arkansas Travelers (LAA) took the first of a four-game series against the 10-11 Cardinals. The Travs got out to a 3-0 lead in the first five innings against starter Richard Castillo and added six more runs in the final two innings against relievers Justin Wright (four runs in 1 2/3 innings) and Michael Blazek (two unearned runs in one inning) to pull away.
Castillo took the loss, yielding the three runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out two.
On a cold and wet evening, manager Mike Shildt was ejected in the seventh inning after an argument over whether or not shortstop Jake Lemmerman was hit on the hand by a pitch.
Designated hitter Chris Swauger and centerfielder Tommy Pham both had a single and a double. Swauger, catcher Audry Perez (double) and second baseman Starlin Rodriguez (sac fly) each contributed an RBI. 12 Cardinals were left stranded on base in the club's third consecutive loss.
The Cardinals stormed back in the bottom of the ninth inning to culminate Saturday's Star Wars Night at Roger Dean Stadium with an 8-7 win over the Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA).
With Palm Beach down 7-6 entering the final frame, right fielder Stephen Piscotty ignited the comeback with a hard-hit single up the middle. Jonathan Rodriguez followed with a single to left field and Anthony Garcia dropped down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners.
Next up was David Popkins, who was already 3-for-4 with two RBI. The outfielder was walked intentionally to bring up catcher Adam Ehrlich. An error by the Jupiter second baseman on Ehrlich's grounder allowed Piscotty and Rodriguez to score, sealing the walkoff win.
Closer Ronnie Shaban picked his first Florida State League victory after throwing a hitless top of the ninth while walking one. Starter Kyle Hald went into the sixth protecting a 4-3 lead, but departed after just one out. The lefty yielded six runs, five earned, on seven hits and two walks over 5 1/3. Heath Wyatt did a fine job keeping the game close, tossing 2 1/3 frames of scoreless ball on one hit. Wyatt fanned four.
Palm Beach hitters collected 15 hits, four of which came off the bat of centerfielder Nick Longmire. Our Player of the Day reached base in all five of his plate appearances (4-for-4, double, walk, two RBI). Piscotty (2-for-5, two runs), Rodriguez (3-for-5, double, run) and Popkins all contributed with multi-hit outings.
Sunday's game: at Daytona, 5:35 pm ET, Scott Gorgen (1-0, 6.00).
The Chiefs (10-9) rallied for a series win by defeating the Dayton Dragons (CIN) 7-5 on Saturday night. The Peoria bullpen carried a heavy load, logging 7 1/3 innings after starter Kurt Heyer left in the second inning with a hand injury on a comebacker to the mound.
The Chiefs jumped out to an early lead when Patrick Wisdom went deep to lead off the second inning. In the fourth, Wisdom reached on a two-base error and moved to third on a bunt single by Breyvic Valera. Geoff Klein singled to center for a 2-0 Chiefs lead.
Dayton rallied in the bottom of the fourth against reliever Joe Scanio with a trio of runs, but the Chiefs came back to tie on an double by Alex Mejia, who was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.
The hosts recaptured the lead in the sixth and seventh with single runs against eventual winner Jhonny Polanco, but Peoria tied the game in the eighth and took the lead in the ninth.
Carson Kelly doubled to right-center. Then, Breyvic Valera shot an RBI triple to center and he scored on a single to center by Klein to retie the game. In the ninth, Mejia walked with two outs and Jacob Wilson launched a full-count pitch onto the left-field concourse for the final 7-5 Chiefs edge.
Mejia (batting .359) singled, doubled, walked twice, drove in a run and scored. Wilson (two RBI) has homered in two straight games and Wisdom has hit four home runs in five games on this road trip and six for the season. Klein had two singles and two RBI.
Heyer allowed one hit and struck out one in 1 2/3 shutout innings before his injury. Scanio allowed three runs on five hits over 3 1/3 innings with a strikeout. Polanco allowed two runs on four hits over three innings. Aldrete earned his first professional save with a shutout ninth inning that included two strikeouts.
Sunday's game: at Bowling Green, 5:05 pm CT, Tyrell Jenkins (0-1, 5.40).
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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