Oscar Taveras' four-hit night paved the way for Memphis' 10-3 trouncing of Sacramento at home. The Redbirds (19-14) took the series three games to one in what was a battle of first-place teams.
Taveras, our co-Player of the Day, went 4-for-5 with a double, a solo bomb, two runs scored and three RBI. Taveras' long ball was one of four home runs by Memphis batters. One of Ryan Jackson's two hits in four at bats was a two-run blast in the second that plated Jaime Romak (single). Jackson added a double, a base-on-balls and two driven in. J.R. Towles blasted a two-run home run in the sixth that brought in Jermaine Curtis (walk) while Justin Christian had a solo shot later that frame.
Adron Chambers singled three times in five at bats while touching home once. Romak went 2-for-3 with two free passes and crossed twice. Christian worked a base-on-balls, in addition to his homer, and scored two times. Shortstop Greg Garcia exited the game in the fourth after reaching base due to a throwing error by the pitcher on his sac bunt. Curtis came in to pinch run for Garcia.
Michael Wacha earned his fourth win in as many decisions by holding the River Cats to single tallies in the second a third. The righty yielded three hits, including a home run, over six while striking out five with three ground outs and seven ground outs. He threw 86 pitches, 56 for strikes.
Marc Rzepczynski tossed two shutout frames, erasing the only batter to reach on a 3-6-1 double play. Rzepczynski yielded a single with two strikeouts and three ground outs. Eric Fornataro gave up an unearned run on two hits while fanning two in the ninth.
Saturday's game: vs. Fresno (18-18) (SF), 6:05 pm CT, Tyler Lyons (2-1, 4.00)
The S-Cards split a Friday double-header with Northwest Arkansas, taking the opener 6-4 but dropping the nightcap 5-4. Springfield (17-15) remains on top the North Division, a game and a half ahead of both Arkansas (LAA) and Tulsa (COL).
In game one, the home team went ahead in the second on a two-run blast by Audry Perez that brought across Starlin Rodriguez (single), then added one in the third and three in the fourth via Tommy Pham's sixth home run of the season. Pham's shot scored Jake Lemmerman (double) and Mike O'Neill (walk). Pham, Perez and Ruben Gotay had two hits each with Pham crossing home twice.
Richard Castillo (W, 2-3) allowed two in the fourth plus single tallies in the fifth and sixth. Three of the four runs resulted from two home runs. Castillo gave up five hits and a walk over six while fanning six. Keith Butler worked around two hits in the seventh for his fourth save.
Each team scored all of their game two runs in one inning. The Naturals pushed across five in the third off starter Nick Greenwood (L, 0-1) with three of the five coming on yet another home run. Greenwood permitted four hits and two walks in 2 2/3 while striking out two.
Springfield responded with a four-run sixth with the big blow being Mike O'Neill's first long ball of 2013, a three-run bomb that drove in Travis Tartamella (walk) and Vance Albitz (double). O'Neill and Albitz were joined in the two-hit club by James Ramsey and Chris Swauger. O'Neill's home run and Albitz' double were the only extra base hits for the Cardinals.
Ramon Delgado (2 1/3), Justin Wright (one) and Deryk Hooker finished the game. Delgado gave up a hit with three strikeouts, Wright fanned the side in the sixth while Hooker issued a free pass with a strikeout in the seventh.
Saturday's game: vs. Northwest Arkansas (12-20), 6:09 pm CT, Scott McGregor (2-1, 2.36)
Four runs in the final three innings helped the Beach Birds triumph over host St. Lucie 7-3. The win snapped a five-game losing streak and left Palm Beach (15-20) in fourth, 12 ½ behind Fort Myers (MIN).
The PB-Cards put up straight numbers in the second, fourth, seventh and ninth plus three in the eighth. Stephen Piscotty, our co-Player of the Day, led the attack, going 3-for-5 with a double and two solo shots, three runs scored and two driven in. Jonathan Rodriguez and Anthony Garcia both had two hits, touched home twice and knocked in another.
Lee Stoppelman picked up his second win by tossing two scoreless frames in relief of Scott Gorgen. Gorgen yielded three tallies on four hits and a base-on-balls over six while striking out seven. One of the four hits permitted by the right-hander was a two-run long ball. Heath Wyatt gave up a hit with a strikeout in the ninth.
Saturday's game: at St. Lucie (22-12), 6:30 pm ET, Ryan Sherriff (0-1, 3.60)
There were two shutouts in Peoria's double-header at Beloit on Friday with the Chiefs taking the first one 2-0 but falling 4-0 in game two. Peoria (15-15) dropped the series three to one and is in fifth place, seven games in back of Cedar Rapids (MIN).
In game one, Joey Cuda picked up his second win in three decisions. Cuda fanned four with four hits over five. Zach Petrick earned his fourth save with two frames of one-hit ball while striking out three. Neither hurler issued a free pass.
Both of the Chiefs' runs came in the first. Breyvic Valera led off with an infield single to third and eventually scored on Jacob Wilson's single to right. Alex Mejia reached on a throwing error by the Snappers' pitcher and subsequently raced in on Patrick Wisdom's sac fly. Two of Peoria's three hits in all came in the first.
Kurt Heyer was charged with his first loss in four decisions in game two when he allowed four runs on eight hits, including a solo long ball, and a base-on-balls over 5 2/3. Heyer struck out four and threw two wild pitches. Joey Donofrio recorded the final out in the sixth to strand two inherited runners.
Breyvic Valera opened the game with a single to right and that was Peoria's entire offense for the contest. Carson Kelly reached base twice the hard way, by being plunked.
Saturday's games: at Quad Cities (19-13) (HOU), 6:00 pm CT, Tyrell Jenkins (1-2, 4.97); game two, following game one, makeup of April 11 rainout, TBA.
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