The Redbirds cruised into the sixth inning with a five-run lead, but exited the frame behind. That is where they remained for the duration of Saturday night's series opening loss to visiting Fresno.
Memphis' worst single inning of baseball on the season to date was that sixth. Starter Tyler Lyons was still on the mound, but departed after four hits and a fielding error, the first of two miscues by Jermaine Curtis at third, led to three scores. Jorge Rondon relieved and immediately served up a three-run home run.
The Redbirds scored all their runs in the first three innings and lost two more thrown out at the plate. Jamie Romak plated two runners, with Lyons, Adron Chambers and J.R. Towles driving in the other Memphis tallies. Four Redbirds had two hits each, including Chambers (double), Kolten Wong (triple) and Ryan Jackson (double). Memphis hitters did not take a walk all evening.
Sunday's game: vs. Fresno (19-18) (SF), 1:35 pm CT, Nick Additon (2-1, 4.20).
The longest game in time (5:38) and innings (20) in Springfield history ended in a disappointing defeat for the Double-A Cardinals Saturday night. Infielder-turned emergency pitcher Ruben Gotay yielded a two-run home run in the top of the 20th and the S-Cards could answer with only one. The game ended with the tying run at third base.
Another infielder, Vance Albitz, preceded Gotay and threw three scoreless innings, striking out two, walking two and allowing two hits. Starter Scott McGregor yielded the first three Naturals runs as part of a 6 2/3 inning outing that included nine hits, including two home runs, no walks and seven strikeouts. Before Albitz and Gotay were pressed into mound duty, Kevin Siegrist, Michael Blazek, Kevin Thomas and Deryk Hooker combined for 12 1/3 scoreless frames of relief on just three hits and three walks while striking out 11.
Offensively, Cards hitters fanned 19 times, left 16 runners stranded and went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Gotay led the offense, going 3-for-9 with a home run and three RBI. Leadoff man James Ramsey singled twice and walked three times, but was picked off once. Xavier Scruggs doubled and drew three free passes. Audry Perez and Tommy Pham went a combined 0-for-17.
Sunday's game: vs. Northwest Arkansas (13-20) (KC), 2:09 pm CT, Anthony Ferrara (2-3, 5.24).
Saturday night's game between the Mets and Cardinals could not be played due to rain. Because the clubs do not play each other again in the first half of the season, the game will not be made up.
Sunday's game: Off. On Sunday, the Beach Birds have their first scheduled day off since April 24. Starting on Monday, the Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET) will invade Roger Dean Stadium for a four-game set.
Quad Cities 3, Peoria 2 (game two, seven innings)
Peoria won game one of a wild doubleheader 6-3 but dropped game two on a walk-off single. The twin bill featured a triple play, a manager ejection, a multi-homer game, a game-tying home run with the Chiefs down to their final strike and a protest by the Quad Cities manager.
In game one, the Chiefs jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning, punctuated by Jordan Walton's first career home run. Walton went deep again in the fifth and with the score 6-3 in the seventh, a pitch was thrown up and in to him. Peoria manager Dann Bilardello was ejected after arguing the Quad Cities hurler should have been thrown out of the game.
Starter Tyrell Jenkins allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits over five innings in his second straight win. The reigning MWL Pitcher of the Week struck out three and walked five. Corey Baker earned his first save with two perfect innings, including five strikeouts.
Newcomer Silfredo Garcia caused controversy when he hit a Bandits batter in the second. When Garcia was not ejected, the Quad Cities manager protested the game. With the score tied at one each, Dixon Llorens took over in the bottom of the fourth, but after a leadoff single and a wild pitch, he left the game with an unknown injury. Joe Scanio came in and with two on and no outs, he started a 1-3-6 triple play to escape the jam.
After Quad Cities took a 2-1 lead, the Chiefs were down to their final strike in the top of the seventh when Jacob Wilson launched a game-tying home run into the left-field berm. The blast was his MWL leading eighth of the season. Six of his homers have either tied the game or put the Chiefs ahead. Wilson had two of the Bandits' six hits.
Walton's error in the home seventh led to the winning run, unearned, scoring against Mike Aldrete.
In the twin bill, Walton, our Player of the Day, went 3-for-7 with a walk, two home runs, two RBI and two runs scored. The first baseman/outfielder is batting .346 on the season.
Sunday's game: at Quad Cities (20-14) (HOU), 2:00 pm CT, Kyle Helisek (2-1, 4.44).
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