The Memphis Redbirds held steady in third place of the American Southern division of the Pacific Coast League after a 3-3 week. The Redbirds moved a half game behind second place Round Rock (TEX) thanks in large part to winning a home series against the Express 3-1.
Wednesday was a league-wide off day, then the Redbirds began a four-game series at AutoZone Park against the Omaha Storm Chasers (KC) with a 10-6 loss that dropped the Redbirds to 19-21 on the season.
May 9: Memphis at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City wins 3-2
The Redbirds wrapped up their series at Oklahoma City (HOU) with a low-scoring 3-2 defeat.
Both teams scored once in the second inning, then Oklahoma City jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third with a Ronald Torreyes double to center field that scored two. Memphis pulled within a run in the sixth inning via a Kolten Wong RBI double, but ultimately the Redbirds were unable to find enough offense, as they managed just three hits.
Boone Whiting received his fifth loss, pitching 4 2/3 innings, walking five, striking out four, and allowing three earned runs and five hits. In relief, Jorge Rondon gave up one hit in 2 1/3 innings and David Aardsma was perfect in one inning pitched.
May 10: Round Rock at Memphis, Memphis wins 13-1
The Redbirds erupted for 16 hits in a 13-1 blowout win over Round Rock to kick off an eight-game home stand.
It took a while for the ‘Birds to get going with the game scoreless through the first three innings, but Oscar Taveras struck first in the fourth with a groundout that scored second baseman Kolten Wong, then Stephen Piscotty blasted his third homer of the season to left field to bring home Randal Grichuk and propel Memphis to an early 3-0 lead.
Round Rock received a solo shot from Jared Hoying in the fifth, but Memphis scored in every inning until the end of the contest to take home the victory.
Piscotty led Memphis at the plate in the offensive showcase, going 3-for-5 and totaling five RBI while hitting two home runs. Every Redbird hit at least once in the win. The offense was the focal point of the victory, but Angel Castro delivered a gem en route to his fourth win of the season. The right-hander went seven innings, striking out four and giving up only one earned run and three hits.
May 11: Round Rock at Memphis, Memphis wins 5-1
For the second consecutive day, the Express failed to get the offense going and the Redbirds cruised to a 5-1 victory.
Round Rock took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Adam Rosales scored following a wild pitch, but that quickly changed in the bottom of the inning when Randal Grichuk launched his fourth homer of the season to left field, scoring Kolten Wong and giving the Redbirds a 2-1 lead. Memphis added two more runs in the second and one more in the fourth, each resulting from Round Rock errors.
Grichuk had three of the Redbirds' six hits on the day with two doubles and a home run. Pitcher Tim Cooney improved his record to 4-2 after allowing one earned run and three hits in 5 2/3 innings.
May 12: Round Rock at Memphis, Round Rock wins 3-2
The Memphis offense generated 10 hits on the evening but failed to turn them into runs, as the Redbirds dropped game three of the series 3-2.
The Express started things off with a bang, with Daniel Robertson firing a solo shot to left field on Jaime Garcia's second pitch of the game. Round Rock struck again in the fourth when a wild pitch from Garcia scored Brad Snyder and gave the Express a 2-0 advantage.
Memphis reliever Heath Wyatt struggled in the ninth, however, putting runners on second and third and then walking another to load the bases. Bryan Petersen hit a routine groundball to first base, but there was a miscommunication between Wyatt and Xavier Scruggs. The Redbirds were unable to get the inning ending out and Brett Nicholas scored the game-deciding run.
Stephen Piscotty, Shane Robinson and Jermaine Curtis each hit twice for Memphis in the loss. In his first rehab appearance, Jaime Garcia pitched five innings, striking out five and giving up two earned runs and three hits.
May 13: Round Rock at Memphis, Memphis wins 14-3
The Redbirds ended the Round Rock series exactly how they started it, with an explosive offensive performance that left the Express in the dust.
Randal Grichuk started things off with his fifth homer of the season to give Memphis the 1-0 lead in the first inning, then an Oscar Taveras double scored two and gave the ‘Birds a three run lead. The Memphis lead was extended to six after a Kolten Wong three-run dinger in the fourth. Round Rock scored all of its runs in the fifth inning to pull within three, but the Redbirds poured on three more runs in the bottom of the inning and five more in the eighth to finish off the Express.
For the second time in the series, every Memphis batter logged a hit in the win. Wong led the Redbirds with four hits and four RBI. Grichuk and Taveras added three hits each.
Jason Motte made his first rehab appearance with Memphis, pitching one inning and allowing one hit.
May 14: Off day
May 15: Omaha at Memphis, Omaha wins 10-6
Memphis overcame an early 5-1 deficit, but Omaha rallied for five runs in the eighth inning to deal the Redbirds a 10-6 series-opening loss.
Randal Grichuk fired a bomb to right field to give Memphis a one run lead in the first, but Omaha scored the next five runs to take control of the game. Grichuk and Oscar Taveras led the Redbirds comeback with homers in the fifth and seventh innings to regain the lead. Eric Fornataro had a disastrous 2/3 of an inning in the eighth, walking three and giving up two hits, two earned and five runs as Omaha took the lead for good.
Grichuk's two home runs carried Memphis offensively. Scott McGregor received a no decision after walking three and allowing five earned runs in four innings pitched.
Jason Motte made his second rehab appearance, striking out two and allowing one hit in two innings.
Randal Grichuk: Since returning to the Memphis lineup on May 9, Grichuk is batting .375 in 24 plate appearances. More notable than the hits is that the righty has hit four home runs in those six games, including a two-homer outing against Omaha on May 15.
Shane Robinson: Robinson was in a funk to start the month of May, but appears to have broken out of it and has been consistent at the plate since. In his last four games, the outfielder is hitting 7-of-17 with three two-hit outings.
Oscar Taveras: A week after his monster 16-game hit streak came to an end on May 3, Taveras got back to work on a new streak. The outfielder has hit in his last five contests dating back to May 10 and is batting 8-for-20 with three doubles and six RBI in that timeframe.
Pete Kozma: Kozma has now appeared in 25 games for the Redbirds and has yet to hit his stride at the plate. The shortstop is batting .202 for the season and things do not appear to be getting better, with the righty hitting just .167 over his last 10 games.
Luis Mateo: Mateo struggled at the plate during his first stint with Memphis at the beginning of the season, and his struggles have continued since returning to the Bluff City. Over his last five games the shortstop is only 2-for-15.
Pitchers Jason Motte and Jaime Garcia each made rehab appearances in Memphis this week. Garcia started May 12 against Round Rock and gave up a homer on his second pitch, but recovered nicely, receiving a no decision after a solid five innings allowing two earned runs and three hits while striking out five.
Motte gave up one hit in one inning of work against Round Rock May 13, then pitched again two days later against Omaha, striking out two and giving up one hit in two innings.
May 9 — St. Louis Cardinals optioned Randal Grichuk to Memphis Redbirds
May 12 — St. Louis Cardinals sent Jason Motte on a rehab assignment to Memphis Redbirds
May 12 — St. Louis Cardinals sent Jaime Garcia on a rehab assignment to Memphis Redbirds
May 13 — St. Louis Cardinals optioned Eric Fornataro to Memphis Redbirds
May 13 — St. Louis Cardinals recalled Jorge Rondon from Memphis Redbirds
May 13 — St. Louis Cardinals recalled Sam Freeman from Memphis Redbirds
May 14 — St. Louis Cardinals optioned Greg Garcia to Memphis Redbirds
May 14 — St. Louis Cardinals recalled Kolten Wong from Memphis Redbirds
May 15 — Dean Kiekhefer assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Springfield Cardinals
May 14 — Memphis Redbirds placed Keith Butler on 7-day disabled list.
The Redbirds will wrap up their current home stand against Omaha Sunday afternoon, and then head out to Colorado Springs, where they split a four-game series earlier in the month.
Follow Austin Reynolds on Twitter @ReynoldsRant.
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