Four sixth-inning runs broke open a tie game as the Redbirds (63-69) coasted to a 7-1 win over host Iowa in the series opener. Second-place Memphis gained a game on Omaha, which they trail by two.
The sixth was powered by Jermaine Curtis, whose fifth long ball of 2013 came with Jaime Romak (single) and Greg Garcia (walk) on base. Back-to-back doubles by Chris Swauger and Audry Perez accounted for the inning's final tally. The Redbirds added two insurance runs in the seventh when Brock Peterson went yard with Vance Albitz (single) aboard.
Albitz singled three times in four at bats with a run scored while Curtis, Garcia and Peterson had two hits apiece. Garcia doubled twice, touching home two times in the process. Romak added his sixth stolen base of the season.
Scott McGregor picked up his fifth win versus nine losses, holding the Cubs to three hits and four bases-on-balls over five that resulted in one tally. McGregor fanned four and hit a batter. Twice Deryk Hooker retired the side in order with two strikeouts. Jorge Rondon fanned three in the eighth and ninth, yielding one hit.
Thursday's game: at Iowa (59-73), 6:35 pm CT, Boone Whiting (4-5, 4.52)
The S-Cards mustered just two hits in their 3-1 home defeat at the hands of the Naturals. Springfield (29-29) has lost the first two of four versus Northwest Arkansas, falling into a second-place tie with them, a game behind Arkansas' pace.
Despite the Cardinals' lack of offense, they clung to a slim 1-0 lead through six behind Tim Cooney's stellar mound effort. Cooney (L, 7-8) limited his opponents to just four hits and a walk during that span while fanning seven. The lefty retired the first batter before permitting consecutive singles that finished his night. Both runners crossed on a fielding error by left fielder Starlin Rodriguez that should have ended the frame.
Jose Almarante gave up an unearned run of his own in the eighth via a walk, his own throwing error when a pickoff attempt went awry, intentional walk and single. Kevin Thomas struck out all four batters faced.
Springfield scored its only run in the third when Colin Walsh opened with a base-on-balls, advanced to third on a single and fielding error on the play, then raced home on James Ramsey's sac fly to center.
Thursday's game: vs. Northwest Arkansas (29-29), 7:09 pm CT, Zach Petrick (2-2, 4.35)
Palm Beach 7 vs. St. Lucie 0 (7) – game two
The third-place Beach Birds split a pair with second-place St. Lucie, dropping the opener 6-4, but taking the nightcap 7-0. Palm Beach (29-27) trail Charlotte (TB) by 4 ½ with an elimination number of seven.
Game one completed Tuesday's contest that was suspended in the bottom of the fifth with the Mets up 4-2. The PB-Cards tied it in the sixth but two in the seventh off Corey Baker (L, 1-2) proved the difference. Joey Cuda started on Tuesday, going 4 2/3 innings with nine hits that produced four tallies, two earned. Cuda fanned three and did not issue a free pass.
Baker, who took the mound when play resumed on Wednesday, allowed two runs on four hits in 1 2/3. Dean Kiekhefer faced the minimum over 1 2/3 while Logan Billbrough worked around two hits for a scoreless ninth.
Alex Mejia and Jesus Montero both singled and doubled with two RBI. Patrick Wisdom, Nick Longmire and Ronny Gill all went hitless in three at bats but touched home after reaching base via a base-on-balls. David Popkins doubled and scored as well.
Palm Beach's 7-0 victory in game two ended a four-game skid. Kurt Heyer's record was raised to 6-4 with six frames of four-hit ball. Heyer, one of our three Players of the Day, struck out three and walked two. Ronnie Shaban tossed a one-two-three seventh.
Six of the PB-Cards' seven tallies crossed in the fourth. David Popkins went 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI. One of our three Players of the Day Alex Mejia drove in three, doubling once in three at bats with a free pass for a line of 3-for-8 with a walk, two doubles and five RBI over the twin-bill. Patrick Wisdom singled and doubled in three at bats with a base-on-balls while touching home once and knocking in one.
Thursday's game: vs. St. Lucie (29-24), 6:35 pm ET, Marco Gonzales (0-0, 2.25)
The Chiefs slipped past the Bees 2-1 in the series opener at home. Peoria (28-30) remains in fourth, 12 behind Cedar Rapids (MIN).
Burlington struck first with a tally in the initial frame off Silfredo Garcia (W, 4-4) but Nick Martini's first home run of 2013 knotted the game up in the second. Garcia yielded two of his three total hits plus one of his two free passes in the first before shutting down Burlington over the next four.
Thomas Lee struck out five in three innings with three hits permitted. Dixon Llorens gave up consecutive singles to put runners at the corners with one out in the ninth but escaped via a fielder's choice at the plate plus a come-backer for his 11th save.
Peoria went up in the fourth when Bruce Caldwell worked a free pass to lead off. Caldwell advanced on Martini's one-out single and came in on a single to right by Breyvic Valera. Martini stole his eighth base of the season and had two of his squad's seven hits. No other Chief had more than one.
Thursday's game: vs. Burlington (23-35), 6:30 pm CT, Brad Watson (3-5, 3.93)
The Spikes slashed the Crosscutters for 15 hits in their 9-3 triumph in game two of three against Williamsport. State College (37-23) has won six straight and remains tied with Jamestown (PIT) atop the Pinckney Division.
While one of our Players of the Day David Washington did not lead the Spikes in hits, he produced the most. Washington went 2-for-3 with a double, two free passes, two runs scored and three driven in to account for five of his team's nine runs. Ronald Castillo singled three times and doubled once in five at bats with a stolen base while touching home once and driving in one.
Carson Kelly singled twice in five at bats with a run scored and an RBI. Jimmy Bosco also had two singles and joined Steven Ramos by knocking in one. Brett Wiley went 1-for-4 with a walk, scored three times and swiped two bags.
Arturo Reyes scattered eight hits and three bases-on-balls over six, allowing two to score in the fifth, for his first win as a professional. Mike Aldrete gave up an unearned tally in the seventh, the first of his two innings on the mound. Aldrete issued two free passes along with two hits. Jacob Booden allowed the first three batters faced to reach in the ninth on two walks and a single but escaped on two swinging K's and a ground out.
Thursday's game: vs. Williamsport (29-31), 7:05 pm ET, Willy Paulino (2-2, 2.70)
The Appy Birds' final road trip of 2013 begins with three at Burlington (KC). They then head to Danville (ATL) for three more before coming home to face Burlington again. Three and a-half games separate the top four squads in the West Dvision with fourth-place Johnson City (30-28) chasing Greeneville (HOU), Kingsport (NYM) and Elizabethton (MIN).
Thursday's game: at Burlington (26-32), 7:00 pm ET, Blake McKnight (2-1, 2.37)
Different day, same result as the Gulf Birds (22-31) fell to the powerful Nationals 5-3 at home. The GCL Cardinals have been eliminated from play-off contention.
Juan Perez yielded single tallies in three innings of his five-inning stint. Two runs were earned, coming on five hits, four bases-on-balls and a sac fly. Dewin Perez was charged with his fourth loss in five decisions when he gave up single scores in the sixth and seventh. The latter Perez permitted four hits, walk and plunked one batter over four.
First baseman Luis Cruz went 3-for-4 with a double, run scored and an RBI. Catcher Elier Rodriguez singled twice in four at bats while driving in one. Shortstop Oscar Mercado doubled once in five at bats, touched home once with an RBI.
Thursday's game: at GCL Nationals (45-8), 12:00 pm ET, TBA
The Dominican Birds' downward spiral was halted at 13 games when they won 7-4 over the DSL Yankees1 at home. The DSL Cardinals' (33-35) hopes for a play-off slot were quashed with that skid.
Starter Rigobert Urena went only three plus frames, getting a quick hook. Urena yielded two runs on two hits and five walks and was pulled after issuing two free passes to begin the fourth. Andy De La Cruz was solid for the Cardinals, shutting down the Yankees on five hits and a free pass over four while fanning four. Yeison Medina allowed two runs on two hits and a base-on-balls in two.
Centerfielder Magneuris Sierra, third baseman Diory Paulino and shortstop Allen Cordoba each had two of their team's 10 hits. Sierra touched home twice with an RBI and three stolen bases, Paulino knocked in two with one swiped bag and Cordoba scored twice.
Thursday's game: at DSL Yankees1 (39-27), 10:30 am ET, David Oca (2-3, 3.63) or Julio Mateo (1-3, 2.62)
© 2013 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.