The Palm Beach Cardinals got back to their winning ways, as they took five of seven in the last week to pull into a tie for fourth place, three games behind Fort Myers (MIN). Kyle Helisek continues to dominate the Florida State League, while the offense has started putting runs on the board, led by Anthony Garcia and Breyvic Valera.
April 30: Jupiter Hammerheads 5, Palm Beach Cardinals 3
It was another rough start for Joe Cuda (L, 0-4) as the right-hander was roughed up for five runs on 12 hits in the Cardinals loss. Cuda, who went a perfect 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA in seven starts for the Cardinals in 2013, has not won a game in the 2014 campaign. In his latest loss, the 24-year-old right-hander gave up a season-high 12 hits and walked two. Jupiter hitters hit .433 against him on Wednesday night.
With the Cardinals facing an early 4-0 hole, they tried to battle back against Trevor Williams. However, the Jupiter hurler was dominant, tossing seven innings, allowing one run on seven hits while striking out seven.
David Washington had a big game, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI.
May 1: Palm Beach Cardinals 8, Fort Myers Miracle 2
The Cardinals ended their four-game slide in grand fashion, as they connected for 14 hits and scored eight runs in the thumping of the Miracle. Washington started the scoring in the second inning, belting his sixth homer of the season against Miracle starter Jose Berrios. The Cardinals added three more runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-0 lead.
With a 4-0 lead, Thomas Lee (W, 2-2) had more than enough to room to work with. The right-hander went 6.0 innings, scattering nine hits, allowing two earned runs and striking out three.
May 2: Palm Beach Cardinals 3, Fort Myers Miracle 2 (14)
On a rainy, soggy day, the Palm Beach Cardinals and Fort Myers Miracle battled for 3 hours and 55 minutes before the Cardinals claimed victory. The Cards took an early 2-1 lead, as they were paced by a second-inning homer by Anthony Garcia.
However, Robert Stock couldn't maintain the lead in the eighth inning, allowing a run to slip across and tie the game. Stock struggled with his control, walking four batters in two innings.
The Cardinals bailed out the right-hander in the 14th inning against Tyler Jones. Valera led off with a single and advanced on a hit by pitch to Garcia. With runners on first and second, Bruce Caldwell bunted the two over to second and third. After an intentional walk to Jesus Montero, Washington hit a sacrifice fly to push the winning run across. Infielder Caldwell (W, 1-0) picked up the win.
May 3: Palm Beach Cardinals 10, Fort Myers Miracle 3
Kyle Helisek finally got the run support he had been looking for, as the southpaw was spotted five runs in the first inning. With the lead, Helisek twirled six innings, allowing five hits, two earned runs with three strikeouts. He recorded his first win of the season despite boasting a 1.88 ERA.
Offensively, the Cardinals jumped all over Alex Wimmers, scoring six runs on six hits. Jacob Wilson led the way with two hits and two runs, while Garcia clubbed his sixth homer of the season in the eighth inning against Madison Boer to cap the scoring for the Beach Birds. The three-run homer tied Garcia for the team lead with Washington.
May 4: Palm Beach Cardinals 7, Fort Myers Miracle 0
When the St. Louis Cardinals spent their first-round pick on Marco Gonzales, they envisioned a hurler that could take over a game. On Sunday afternoon, the lefty threw eight innings of scoreless ball, allowing seven hits with one strikeout.
The crafty lefty pitched to contact, inducing 15 ground ball outs, while adding four fly outs. Gonzales improved to 2-1 with the victory and lowered his ERA to 1.42 on the season.
With Gonzales dealing, the offense didn't need a whole lot to make it four in a row. Valera led the way, going 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI, while Washington, Caldwell and Ildemero Vargas added two hits each.
May 5: Jupiter Hammerheads 5, Palm Beach Cardinals 4
All streaks come to an end, but it is hard to lose to your in-house rival. On Monday night, the Cardinals dropped the opener to Hammerheads 5-4. Mike Mayers (L, 2-3) was tagged for five runs, three earned, on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Palm Beach got off to a great start, scoring three runs in the first inning. An RBI double by Washington brought in the first run, while a ground out by Valera brought in the second and an RBI single by Starlin Rodriguez made it 3-0. However, the Beach Birds attack was stifled the rest of the way. Rodriguez finished the contest 1-for-3 with two RBI.
May 6: Pam Beach Cardinals 7, at Jupiter Hammerheads 3
Making his FSL debut, Nick Petree dominated the Hammerheads. The right-hander took the turn of the struggling Cuda on the mound, and went out to toss seven strong innings of one-run baseball. He recorded his first victory of the season as he struck out six batters.
Petree got a huge lift from the Cardinals offense as they scored three runs in the third, one in the fourth and three in the sixth. In the third inning, the Cardinals recorded four hits and scored three runs. Despite scoring three runs in the frame, Rodriguez was the only one to record an RBI as the other two runs scored on a wild pitch and a double play.
With a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning, Washington doubled in a run with runners on the corners, while Alex Mejia and Vargas added RBI to extend the lead to 7-3.
So Good to Win: Despite posting the best ERA on the team, Kyle Helisek entered Saturday night's contest without a win on the season. However, that changed on Saturday as he tossed six strong innings to record his first win. On the season, Helisek has three quality starts and carries a team-leading 1.88 ERA.
Power Surge: Anthony Garcia flexed his power muscle the last week, clubbing two home runs and tying Washington for the home run lead. In his last five games, the outfielder is batting .316 (6-for-19) with the two homers and six RBI.
Not Your typical light-hitting infielder: Breyvic Valera may stand 5'11" 160-pounds, but the infielder can flat out hit. In his last ten games, he is batting .356 (16-for-45) with 11 runs scored and six RBI. The 22-year-old is currently on an eight-game hitting streak.
No, Thank You, Ill Skip the Martini: After starting the season hitting well above .300, Nick Martini has struggled of late. In his last ten games, he is batting .189 (7-for-37) with three runs scored, one homer and three RBI.
5/3 RHP Cory Jones placed on DL
5/3 RHP Will Anderson added from Johnson City
5/4 RHP Will Anderson sent down to State College
5/4 RHP Dailyn Martinez added from Johnson City
5/4 RHP Nick Petree added from Class-A Peoria
5/5 RHP Dixon Llorens placed on the DL
5/5 IF Jacob Wilson moved to Double-A Springfield
5/6 RHP Dailyn Martinez sent down to Johnson City
5/6 LHP Danny Miranda Jr. added from Double-A Springfield
On the Horizon
The Cardinals will continue their away-home series against the St. Lucie Mets on Thursday before welcoming the Dunedin Blue Jays for a four-game series starting on Monday, May 12.
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