Pitching and offense came together on Friday as Memphis (2-0) pounded Iowa for the second straight game, this time 9-0.
Four Redbirds combined for a two-hit shutout, led by Angel Castro, a 31-year-old right-hander signed during the off season. Castro (W, 1-0) scattered two hits and two base-on-balls, one intentional, through five while fanning four. Nick Greenwood struck out three over the next two frames, issuing one free pass. Heath Wyatt worked around two walks in his sole inning of work before Eric Fornataro faced the minimum in the ninth.
Oscar Taveras broke a scoreless battle when he led off the fourth with his first home run, one of Memphis' three long balls on the night. It was the left fielder's only hit in five at bats. Taveras struck out three times.
The offensive star of the game was lead-off hitter Greg Garcia, our co-Player of the Day, who accounted for his team's other two bombs. His fifth-inning shot plated Castro after the latter singled home catcher Ed Easley who doubled to begin the frame. The second baseman came back up the next inning with the sacks jammed and sent one over the right field wall for a grand slam. Garcia ended up going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and six driven in. Seven other Redbirds had one hit apiece while Easley touched home twice.
Saturday's game: at Iowa (0-2), 7:05 pm CT, Tim Cooney (league debut)
Zach Petrick fanned eight over five as Springfield (1-1) edged San Antonio 1-0 for their first win of the season.
Petrick, the 2013 Pitcher of the Year, gave up just two hits and one free pass, one of the hits coming after a passed ball by Cody Stanley allowed Petrick's eighth strikeout victim to reach in the fifth. That strikeout would have been the final out of the frame. Petrick, our co-Player of the Day, threw 83 pitches, 54 for strikes and induced five groundball outs to two flyball outs.
Justin Wright and Joe Donofrio combined to set down the next seven batters, six of them via the strikeout. Dean Kiekhefer followed but was not effective, allowing a one-out single and double that put two runners in scoring position. Ronnie Shaban quelled the threat by catching the Missions' cleanup hitter looking at strike three. Shaban retired the side in order in the ninth for his first save.
The third inning produced Springfield's only tally. Second baseman Greg Miclat led off with an infield single to short, one of Springfield's six hits, and promptly stole second. However, Miclat was erased on a fielder's choice at third that allowed Matt Williams to reach second. A Petrick groundout and Mike O'Neill walk later, center fielder Rafael Ortega lined an RBI single to right. O'Neill and Ortega both reached base twice, going 1-for-3 with a free pass.
Saturday's game: vs. San Antonio (1-1), 6:10 pm CT, Seth Blair (0-0. ---)
Anthony Garcia's three-hit night paced Palm Beach (1-1) to a 6-2 victory over St. Lucie.
Garcia doubled up the middle to open the sixth, crossing home subsequently on a wild pitch to make the score 3-1. The designated hitter's single to left drove in Jacob Wilson (single) for the PB Cards' third tally of the seventh and final run of the game.
Lead-off batter Charlie Tilson joined Rodriguez and Wilson in the two-hit club. Rodriguez doubled and tripled, scored one and knocked in another while Wilson touched home once with two RBIs.
Thomas Lee, Palm Beach's third pitcher of the game, was credited with the win despite yielding the Mets' finally tally on two hits in 2 1/3. His big moment came when he entered a bases-loaded/two-out jam in the sixth and induced a groundout to end the threat.
Starter Joe Cuda struck out six in four innings, allowing a run on three hits and a free pass. Robert Stock, the bridge between Cuda and Lee, induced a double play that erased a walk for a clean fifth but ran into trouble in the sixth after sandwiching a single around two free passes. Dixon Llorens struck out two of three faced in the ninth.
Saturday's game: vs. St. Lucie (1-1), 6:35 pm ET, Kyle Hald (0-0, ---)
The Chiefs' contest versus the Timber Rattlers was postponed due to wet grounds. It has been re-scheduled as part of a double-header on Sunday.
Saturday's game: at Wisconsin, 1:05 pm CT, Silfredo Garcia (NR, ---)
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