A game that became a nail-biter was led by a relatively strong start from pitcher Nick Additon. The left-hander fanned nine batters with one walk over six innings, though the Redbirds hurler allowed three runs to cross the plate. All of those runs came in the fifth inning, as Additon took a no-decision after leaving a tie game.
First baseman Brock Peterson led off the fourth with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Christian to push the lead to 3-0.
After Additon surrendered three runs in the fifth, the offense wasn't able to regain the lead. Left-hander Sam Freeman took the hill in the eighth, but went on to serve up three hits to plate the losing run in the eighth inning. The loss was the first on the season for Freeman, who took a perfect 3-0 record into the game. Albitz was the only Redbirds batter with more than one hit (single, double).
Sunday's game: at Tacoma, 1:30 PM PT, Maikel Cleto (1-2, 7.66)
The pitching for the Cardinals Saturday night could be described in one word - dominant. Our Player of the Day, hurler Tim Cooney, grabbed his second win of the season with six shutout innings. Only one of the left-hander's five surrendered hits went for extra-bases, as the Springfield pitcher walked only one compared to seven strikeouts. Relievers Nick Greenwood and Ramon Delgado finished the shutout.
Springfield scored the only run needed to win in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Mike O'Neill began the game with a single, followed by a walk from center fielder James Ramsey and a line-drive single off the bat of third baseman Ruben Gotay to load the bases. Designated hitter Chris Swauger subsequently drove in a run with a single. The next three batters were retired in order without a run crossing the plate.
First baseman Xavier Scruggs put the game completely out of reach by slamming his 12th home run in the top of the ninth, a three-run shot. Scruggs' 12 home runs are second in the Texas League. O'Neill finished with four hits in the leadoff spot (double, triple), while Gotay, Swauger, and Scruggs all provided clout with eight total hits in the three through five spots in the order.
Sunday's game: at Arkansas, 2:10 PM CT, Seth Blair (2-3, 7.06)
Palm Beach scored the first run of the game in the fourth, the same inning that its first hit was tallied. Second baseman Colin Walsh drew a walk to begin the frame and later stole his fourth base on the season to put himself in scoring position with two outs. Danny Stienstra came through with a two-out RBI single to drive in Walsh with the go-ahead run.
The Cardinals held the lead for all of one inning, as the Hammerheads (Miami) got to reliever Iden Nazario in the sixth inning. Alex Burg belted his first home run of the season for Jupiter, a three-run shot to left field. The blast eliminated Cardinals starter Tyler Melling's shot at the victory after he went a solid five scoreless innings with one walk and five strikeouts.
Palm Beach cut the deficit to one run after Walsh and right fielder Stephen Piscotty hit back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom half of the sixth. Jonathan Rodriguez drove in Walsh after grounding into a force out, as third baseman Danny Stienstra popped out to end the threat.
Reliever Danny Miranda's error didn't help his own cause on the mound, as it led to two unearned runs in the seventh inning. Both runs were the final to score in the game.
Piscotty finished 1-for-4 and was the only regular in the lineup hitting over .300 on the season (.307 batting average, .902 OPS). Walsh walked twice in addition to his single, scoring the only runs of the game for Palm Beach. No Cardinals batter recorded more than one hit, while nary an extra-base hit was seen. Nazario took the blown save (2) and suffered his first loss on the season.
Sunday's game: vs. Jupiter, 1:05 PM ET, Travis Miller (1-1, 4.03)
Peoria got off to a 3-1 lead in the first inning with the help of back-to-back singles to lead off the game by Breyvic Valera and Ildemaro Vargas. Valera was driven in by a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, as Vargas followed on a two-out triple by Patrick Wisdom. A two-out RBI single by Casey Rasmus plated the final run of the inning.
Starter Kyle Helisek coughed up the lead by allowing one run to score in each of the first three innings. Helisek left the game after the sixth in a 5-3 deficit having surrendered five runs (three earned) on 11 total hits and one walk.
Peoria showed resilience in mounting a comeback to take the lead, while the biggest impact was felt in the bottom of the eighth. Nick Martini, Valera, Vargas, and Alex Mejia connected for four consecutive singles to score three runs in the inning, as Peoria took a 7-5 lead to the ninth inning.
Reliever Sam Tuivailala took the mound in anticipation of recording his first save for the Chiefs. Instead, the right-hander went on to allow five runs to cross the plate (four earned), with his only recorded out coming on a strikeout of batter Guillermo Pimentel. The Chiefs went down quietly in the ninth to end the game.
The Chiefs' defense let the pitching down with four total errors (three throwing, one fielding), though the offense did all it could to take the win. Second baseman Valera did an impeccable job at getting on base in the leadoff spot with four singles and a walk over five plate appearances. Left fielder Vargas provided a solid one-two spark with three hits (one double) of his own batting behind Valera. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.
Sunday's game: vs. Clinton, 2:00 PM CT, Josh Lucas (0-3, 6.28)
Pierce Jefferson can be reached via email at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter (@MLBPJ).
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