July 11: Palm Beach Cardinals 5, Bradenton Marauders 0
The Cardinals won their fifth in a row behind a strong pitching performance from Zach Petrick (3-0). He tossed 7.1 innings, allowing one hit, walking two and striking out six. Petrick lowered his team-leading ERA to a microscopic 0.27, and then Robert Stock, Jordan Swagerty and Ronnie Shaban completed the shutout.
The Beach Birds took an early 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Jesus Montero, then exploded for four runs in the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom half of the frame, David Popkins clubbed his fifth homer of the season, a three-run shot, giving Palm Beach the decisive victory and a sweep of the visiting Marauders.
July 12: Brevard County Manatees 10 at Palm Beach Cardinals 8
The start of a new series brought the end of the winning streak as the Cardinals dropped the opener to Brevard County. The Cardinals got off on the wrong foot, as Jay Voss (1-4) was roughed up, allowing eight runs on ten hits in 3.1 innings. He was victimized by the long ball, giving up three dingers that accounted for six of the runs scored.
The Cards fought back, scoring two in the seventh and four in the ninth to make it close, but it wasn't enough. Down two in the ninth inning, the Cardinals had the bases loaded with one out, but Nick Longmire struck out swinging and Alex Mejia flew out to end the game.
Popkins led the way, going 3-for-5 with one run scored and three RBI. He was a home run shy of the cycle, picking up a single in the third, a triple in the fifth and a double in the seventh. In the final frame, Popkins came up with the bases loaded and a chance to connect for the cycle, but struck out swinging.
July 13: postponed
July 14: Brevard County Manatees 5 at Palm Beach Cardinals 3 (7 innings)
Re-scheduled to play two games, the Manatees and Cardinals dodged the weather just to get one in on Sunday night. In a back-and-forth battle, the Manatees scored two runs in the top of the seventh and ran away with a close victory.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth, the Cardinals scored two to tie it up at three all. Popkins and Starlin Rodriguez hit back-to-back doubles to start the frame, cutting the lead to 3-2. Jonathan Rodriguez drove in Starlin with a sharp single to left, tying the game at 3-3. After a pitching change, the Cardinals were held without a hit the rest of the night.
In the seventh, Brevard County jumped all over reliever Jordan Swagerty (0-1), scoring two runs on two hits. The right-hander recorded the first two outs of the inning, but plunked Brandon Macias before giving up back-to-back RBI hits by T.J. Mittelstaedt (single) and Yadiel Rivera (double), clinching it for the Manatees.
July 15: Palm Beach Cardinals 2, Brevard County Manatees 1 (7); Palm Beach Cardinals 1, Brevard County Manatees 0 (7)
After rain washed away the second half of their doubleheader on Sunday night, the Cardinals and Manatees fought the elements again. This time, they prevailed as they got both games in despite a 34 minute delay before game two. The elements did not affect the Cardinals pitching staff, as they combined to toss 14 innings of one-run ball.
In game one, Kyle Hald was solid, tossing 5.2 innings, scattering eight hits, allowing one run, while striking out six. He left the game with the score tied, but the Cardinals would win it in the seventh on a walk-off RBI single by Colin Walsh. Mejia started the seventh with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Adam Lewis and scored on RBI hit by Walsh.
In the nightcap, Ryan Sherriff (3-2) and Shaban combined to toss the eighth Palm Beach shutout of the season. The lefty went 5.2 innings, allowing two hits, one walk and striking out four; while Shaban recorded his 13th save of the season, tossing 1.1 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief.
The Cardinals' lone run of the game came in the first inning, as Popkins doubled with one out and scored on an RBI single by Jonathan Rodriguez.
July 16: off day
July 17: Palm Beach Cardinals 7 at Lakeland Flying Tigers 5
The Cardinals continued their winning ways, defeating the 2012 Florida State League champion by a decisive mark. Despite winning by two runs, the Cardinals had complete control of the game out of the gate, scoring three runs in the second and two in the sixth and seventh innings, taking a commanding 7-1 lead before Lakeland made it close.
Hector Hernandez (2-0) picked up the victory, pitching five innings, yielding six hits, allowing one earned run and striking out one. The offense collected ten hits as seven of the starting nine picked up a hit on Wednesday night. Jonathan Rodriguez led the way, going 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Nick Longmire chipped in with two hits and three RBI.
Not Your Average Popkins - David Popkins continues to hit. In 52 games, he batting .349 (67-for-192) with 14 doubles, four triples, five homers and 28 RBI. Popkins is fifth on the team in hits, fourth in doubles, second in triples and third in homers. If he had enough at-bats to be eligible for the batting title, he would be leading the FSL in hitting.
Front-Running Birds - With their third straight win on Wednesday, the Cards continue to lead the South Division… The Beach Birds have a 1.5 game lead on the Charlotte Stone Crabs and St. Lucie Mets… The Mets are charging, winning six straight, while Charlotte is still playing good ball, winners of three straight…
Swag-Off - Recovering from Tommy John surgery has not been kind to Jordan Swagerty. In his five appearances for Palm Beach, the right-hander has been roughed up for 10 runs on 11 hits in five innings on the mound. Swagerty continues to have trouble with his command, walking seven, hitting one and uncorking two wild pitches.
Stock Rising - Robert Stock was the Beach Birds catcher in 2011. He has returned to Palm Beach as a relief pitcher in 2013. The former USC Trojan has had a good start for the Cardinals. In three games, four innings, he has allowed one run on one hit, while striking out six.
7/13/13- LHP Jay Voss placed on the DL
7/14/13- RHP Zach Petrick assigned to Springfield from Palm Beach
7/16/13- OF Anthony Garcia placed on the DL
7/17/13- RHP Joey Cuda assigned to Palm Beach from Peoria
7/17/13- OF Jimmy Parque assigned to Palm Beach from Peoria
On the Horizon
Palm Beach continues its road trip against Lakeland before returning to the ‘Dean on July 21st for an eight-game homestand starting with the Tampa Yankees.
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