A grand slam off the Redbirds' bullpen was sufficient to sink Memphis (8-7), which had to settle for a split of their four-game set after taking the first two. The Redbirds remain tied with Round Rock (TEX) atop the American Southern division, a game ahead of Nashville.
Nick Greenwood (L, 0-2) faced the minimum in the sixth but exited after yielding a single and base-on-balls the next frame. Jose Almarante was unable to garner the inning's final out before walking the bases full and serving up the damaging long ball. Almarante got the hook after permitting a single, departing without retiring a batter. Heath Wyatt issued his own free pass before inducing a ground out. Wyatt tossed a one-two-three eighth.
That fiasco spoiled a fine outing by starter Boone Whiting, who struck out six in five innings, yielding a tally on three hits. It should be noted, however, the righty has pitched into the sixth only once in his four starts this season and has yet to finish six frames.
Memphis' offense was not in sync on Friday despite outhitting the Sounds nine to six. Three of the Redbirds' hits were generated by number two batter Randal Grichuk who doubled once. The only other Redbird with more than one hit was catcher Audry Perez, who went 2-for-4 with a double out of the eight hole. Memphis' sole tally was the result of Greg Garcia's fourth home run of 2014.
Saturday's game: vs. first-place (American Northern) Oklahoma City (10-6) (HOU), 6:05 pm CT, Angel Castro (1-1) (7.88)
A four-run sixth broke open a tight contest as the S-Cards flew over Arkansas 9-5 and take a 2-0 lead in the four-game series. First-place Springfield (7-7) leads the Travelers by a game.
The sixth inning's big blow was a two-run bomb by Aledmys Diaz, his only hit in five at bats. It came with James Ramsey aboard who singled in Luis Mateo (single) for the frame's first score. Jonathan Rodriguez worked a free pass, stole second and raced home on consecutive defensive miscues by Arkansas. That was the first baseman's follow up at bat to his third home run of the season, a solo blast in the fifth.
Curt Smith led Springfield's attack, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored for one-third of his squad's total hits. No other Cardinal had more than one hit. Mike O'Neill singled in two in the second, his only hit in three at bats to go with a free pass.
Two of the three tallies charged to Sam Gaviglio (W, 1-2) in 5 2/3 were via a two-run long ball in his final inning of work. Gaviglio gave up six hits and three free passes while fanning five. Ryan Sherriff tossed a shaky frame, permitting two runs on three hits. Joe Donofrio struck out five in 1 2/3, giving up a base-on-balls. Dean Kiekhefer retired both batters faced.
Saturday's game: vs. Arkansas (6-8), 6:10 pm CT, Jonathan Cornelius (0-2, 9.31)
After being held to five runs in four games, the Beach Birds' offense broke out, easily handling Charlotte 8-3 and evening the three-game series at one apiece. The win snaps a five-game slide by Palm Beach (7-8) which sits in fourth, three behind Bradenton (PIT).
Player of the Day Starlin Rodriguez' first two home runs of the season accounted for four of his team's runs and twice gave them the lead. The outfielder put the PB-Cards temporarily up 1-0 in the first and capped a four-run seventh with three more, plating Adam Ehrlich (single) and Charlie Tilson (RBI single) for the second and final lead.
Jacob Wilson and Nick Martini joined Rodriguez and Ehrlich with two hits each. Wilson crossed home once on Martini's two-run double, the only extra base hit for the home team. David Washington added his third bomb of 2014, a solo blast in the fifth that narrowed the gap to 3-2.
Aidan Lucas picked up his first win in as many decisions, finessing around three hits and a walk in 1 1/3. Lucas was assisted by Dixon Llorens who stranded two inherited in the eighth despite issuing a free pass. Llorens used a ninth-inning double play to minimize two more walks and a single in that frame and record his second save.
Lucas and Llorens pitched in relief of Thomas Lee, who allowed three runs on six hits and a base-on-balls in six. All three tallies came in the third, two on the second home run given up by the 24-year-old in 13 2/3. Scheduled starter Kyle Hald was scratched for unknown reasons.
Saturday's game: vs. Charlotte (5-10), 6:05 pm ET, Cory Jones (0-0, 10.13)
Silfredo Garcia and Blake McKnight were dinged for 16 hits in the Chiefs' 9-4 loss at Fort Wayne, their second straight defeat in three games versus the Wizards. Peoria (8-6) is tied with Burlington (LAA) for second, 2 1/2 in back of Kane County (CHC).
Garcia (L, 1-2) was pounded for 11 hits in just five innings, resulting in seven runs, four earned. He struck out four, hit one batter and threw two wild pitches. The 22-year-old was not aided by his porous defense who committed six errors. Blake McKnight was touched for two tallies on five hits and two free passes over the final three.
Shortstop Cesar Valera had the only multi-hit performance by Peoria, going 2-for-5 with two RBI but also committing an error. Seven other Chiefs had one hit each with Jake Stone and Mason Katz both scoring one and driving in another although second baseman Katz committed three errors and first baseman Stone one.
Catcher Steve Bean worked two of Peoria's four bases-on-balls on a 1-for-2 with a run scored night. Bean was charged with a throwing error as base runners went 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts versus the Garcia/Bean combination. Bean nailed the only runner attempting to steal with McKnight on the bump.
Saturday's game: at Fort Wayne (6-8), 4:05 pm CT, Chase Brookshire (0-1, 6.48)
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