Back-to-back home runs by Jamie Romak and Chad Huffman in the ninth fueled the Redbirds past the Zephyrs 8-2 to even the series at a game apiece. Memphis (66-72) closed to within a game of first-place Omaha (KC) with the win.
The tight contest was blown open in the ninth when five Redbirds crossed the plate. Mike O'Neill worked a pinch-hit free pass and scored on Justin Christian's single. Co-Player of the Day Romak's 22nd long ball of the season came with Ryan Jackson (single) and Christian aboard and expanded the Redbirds' lead to7-2. Huffman followed with a solo shot, his 12th of 2013.
Romak's bomb capped a stellar night at the plate that saw him go 4-for-5 with two runs scored and four driven in. Ryan Jackson singled twice in four at bats with a walk while touching home twice. Huffman, Christian and Greg Garcia each had two hits as well.
Boone Whiting (W, 5-5) struck out nine in six frames, holding the opposition to a two-run blast that was one of five hits and two base-on-balls permitted. Deryk Hooker allowed two hits and a walk over two and Jorge Rondon gave up a hit in the ninth.
Wednesday's game: at New Orleans (69-69), 7:00 pm CT, Eric Fornataro (1-4, 6.95)
The S-Cards scored three in the first but could not hold on as they fell to Arkansas 8-4 in game one of their big series. It is the third straight loss for Springfield (31-33), which falls to three back of the first-place Travelers.
Tim Cooney (L, 7-9) was abysmal, coughing up seven runs on 11 hits and a free pass in six with five strikeouts. Justin Wright gave up a tally on three hits in the seventh. Zack Russell tossed a one-two-three eighth.
All of the S-Cards' tallies came via three home runs. Xavier Scruggs got the scoring started with his 26th of 2013, a blast over the right center wall with Ruben Gotay (walk) aboard. Stephen Piscotty sent one over the left field wall, his sixth since his promotion to Double-A. Colin Walsh added his second of the year in the seventh. Piscotty went 3-for-4 for almost half of his team's eight hits.
Wednesday's game: at Arkansas (34-30), 7:10 pm CT, Zach Petrick (3-2, 4.10)
Palm Beach 1 at Fort Myers 0 (7) – game two
Second-place Palm Beach (34-28) swept a pair from Fort Myers, 5-4 and 1-0, to close to within two of first-place Charlotte (TB).
In game one, Alex Mejia's bases-loaded squeeze bunt brought in the winning tally. Jacob Wilson worked a free pass to open the eighth, advancing to third on consecutive singles by Jonathan Rodriguez and Patrick Wisdom. Wilson raced home for the go-ahead run when Mejia bunted one back to the pitcher.
The balance of Palm Beach's runs all were via the long ball. Jesus Montero went yard with Nick Longmire (force) and Mejia (walk) aboard in the second to put the visitors up 3-0. Longmire added his ninth bomb of 2013 in the fourth to increase the lead to 4-0.
The Miracle chipped away at the lead with two in the fourth plus one in the fifth off Hector Hernandez. Hernandez permitted three runs, two earned, on three hits, three walks and a hit batsman through five.
Robert Stock was charged with his second blown save when he yielded an unearned tally on a single, two-base fielding error and sac fly in the seventh. Stock got the hook after issuing two free passes that frame, giving way to Ronnie Shaban. Shaban (W, 2-5) notched the third out on a pop foul then worked around a hit and base-on-balls in the eighth.
Jonathan Rodriguez went yard to begin the second inning of game two and that was all it took for Joey Cuda and new arrival Thomas Lee to go the distance. Cuda (W, 4-0) limited the Miracle to two hits and two free passes over five while Lee skipped around three hits over the final two frames to earn his first save.
Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with a walk with six other Beach Birds each having one hit.
Wednesday's game: at Fort Myers (30-32), 7:05 pm ET, Kurt Heyer (6-4, 3.40)
The Chiefs (28-36) could not overcome three early scores by the Kernels, falling 4-2 at Cedar Rapids. Peoria has lost six in a row, including a four-game sweep by the first-place Kernels.
Silfredo Garcia (L, 4-5) permitted a tally in the first plus two unearned runs in the second on five total hits and two walks in six. Brady Adamek faced the minimum in the seventh while Joey Donofrio allowed a run on three hits in the eighth.
Juan Herrera and Bruce Caldwell both had two hits in four at bats with Herrera touching home once. Herrera also committed a throwing error that led to the unearned tallies in the second frame. C.J. McElroy's double was the only extra-base hit of Peoria's seven hits in all.
Wednesday's game: vs. Clinton (31-33), 6:30 pm CT, Brad Watson (3-5, 3.86)
Carson Kelly's two-run single in the 11th led the Spikes to a 5-3 victory over the Crosscutters to even up the series at one game each. First-place State College (42-24) remains a game in front of Jamestown (PIT) in the Pinckney Division.
Kelly's first hit in five at bats drove in Cesar Valera (walk) and David Washington (intentional free pass) although the latter was able to touch home due to a fielding error by Williamsport's left fielder, thus denying Kelly of an RBI. Kelly scooted in when Luke Voit lined a two-out single into left that brought the score to 5-2.
The ‘Cutters struck first with an unearned tally in the bottom of the first against Arturo Reyes. The Spikes evened things up in the top of the sixth on an RBI-single by Brett Wiley that drove in Steven Ramos (single). Reyes yielded a run in the bottom of the frame, his final inning on the mound. The 21-year-old allowed five hits and two base-on-balls through six with five strikeouts.
State College sent the game into extras when Matthew Young worked a free pass to kick off the eighth and eventually touched home on Wiley's ground out. Jhonny Polanco pitched the seventh and eighth, working around three hits and a walk.
Jacob Booden (W, 5-0) worked two scoreless frames but exited after a free pass and back-to-back singles pushed across a tally in the bottom of the 11th. Jeff Rauh retired both batters faced for his fifth save.
Wednesday's game: vs. Williamsport (31-35), 7:05 pm ET, Ben O'Shea (3-1, 3.76)
Nick Lomascolo fanned eight over six frames as Johnson City (35-29) shut out Danville 2-0 for a three-game sweep. The Appy Birds were unable to gain ground as first-place Greeneville (HOU) and second-place Kingsport (NYM) both won as well. Johnson City's elimination number drops to three.
Lomascolo, our co-Player of the Day, retired 18 of 20 batters, including the last 10 faced, to raise his record to 2-3. The only Braves to reach against the lefty were via a one-out free pass in the second and triple with two out in the third. Lomascolo induced four ground and four fly outs.
The JC-Cards scored in the second and third with a single by Kenny Peoples-Walls getting the action going. Peoples-Walls swiped his ninth bag of 2013, eventually racing home on a two-out single by Jhohan Acevedo.
Devante Lacy singled to kick off the third, advanced on Vaughn Bryan's single and scored during a run down of Bryan after the latter was picked off first. Lacy subsequently added a triple to join Peoples-Walls as the only Appy Birds with more than one hit.
Wednesday's game: vs. Burlington (27-37), 7:00 pm ET, TBA
Eight late-inning tallies provided the springboard for the Gulf-Cards' 11-6 road victory over the Mets.
Nine of the team's 16 hits came in the final two frames, resulting in two four-run stanzas. Centerfielder Carlos Torres led the hit parade, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored and three knocked in. Designated hitter Ricardo Bautista was right behind, singling and doubling in four at bats with a base-on-balls, three runs scored and an RBI.
Catcher Jose Godoy, shortstop Oscar Mercado and third baseman Leobaldo Pina each had two hits. Godoy had his team's final extra base-hit, a double, touched home twice and drove in one. Mercado drew a free pass with two RBI while Pina scored once.
Dewin Perez allowed single runs in the sixth and ninth on four hits and two free passes to pick up his second win in six decisions, Perez pitched in relief of Juan Perez, who yielded five hits and three base-on-balls through the first five innings, resulting in four tallies, three earned. Perez fanned four.
Wednesday's game: at GCL Nationals (48-9), 11:00 am ET, Rob Kaminsky (0-3, 3.68)
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