Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/26/14

Stellar outings by John Gast and Blake McKnight led Memphis and Peoria to two of four wins on Friday. Palm Beach and State College bombed their opponents but Springfield and all three rookie level clubs fell.

Results from games played Friday, July 25th.

Memphis 3 at Iowa 2

Co-Player of the Day John Gast hurled his fourth consecutive strong start in the Redbirds’ 3-2 victory over the Cubs, the first of five in four days at Iowa. Memphis (52-52) has climbed into a third-place tie with New Orleans (MIA), 3 ½ in back of Nashville (MIL).

Gast (W, 3-2) struck out six in six, yielding a run on two hits, two bases-on-balls, a balk and sac fly. The southpaw is one out shy of four straight stints of six innings while giving up two or fewer runs. Gast threw 83 pitches, 56 for strikes.

Nick Greenwood and Dean Kiekhefer both tossed one-two-three frames, with Kiekhefer striking out one. Angel Castro picked up his first save despite permitting three hits that produced one run. One of Castro’s three outs was a play at the plate and his last was a bases-loaded called K.

All three of the visitors’ scores crossed home in the fifth, two of them via Randal Grichuk’s 19th home run of 2014. Luis Mateo doubled with one out, racing home on a two-out single by Shane Robinson. Robinson was aboard when Grichuk launched one over the left field wall. Mateo went 3-for-4 with two doubles while Grichuk mustered two of the Redbirds’ eight hits.

Saturday’s games: at first-place (American Northern) Iowa (47-59). Game one – 6:05 pm CT, Tim Cooney (9-5, 3.55)/Boone Whiting (3-6, 3.52)

Springfield 1 at Northwest Arkansas 4

A three-run second proved Jonathan Cornelius’ undoing as the S-Cards fell to the Naturals 4-1, evening the series at one game each with two remaining. Fourth-place Springfield (14-21) trails Arkansas (LAA) by four.

Four of the six hits plus both free passes Cornelius allowed through six transpired in the second, resulting in all three tallies charged to the southpaw. Cornelius (L, 9-8) struck out four. Mitch Harris and Joe Donofrio each permitted two hits with a strikeout in their respective one inning of work, with Harris giving up a run.

Three straight hits to begin the eighth generated the S-Cards’ only score, as James Ramsey’s 10th double drove in Charlie Tilson (single). Batting third and fourth, Ramsey and Curt Smith both went 2-for-4 with a double, while Tilson singled once in four at bats. Cody Stanley, Jonathan Rodriguez and Patrick Wisdom all singled once, Stanley eventually being nailed at the plate trying to score behind Tilson on Ramsey’s double.

Saturday’s game: at second-place Northwest Arkansas (17-18), 7:35 pm CT, Kurt Heyer (3-8, 5.00)

Palm Beach 13 at Brevard County 7

11 runs over the first four innings catapulted the Beach Birds to a 13-7 drubbing of the Manatees (MIL), evening the series at one game apiece. It was only the second win in their last seven games for Palm Beach (23-11), which first lost then reclaimed their spot atop the South Division, a half-game ahead of Fort Myers (MIN).

Eight of nine PB-Cards garnered at least one of 16 total hits, as six of the eight generated multi-hit performances. David Popkins and Nick Martini each had three hits and accounted for four runs, Popkins going 3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI. Martini singled and doubled twice in four at bats with a walk, touched home three times and knocked in one on a sac fly.

Luke Voit and Mason Katz both homered in two-hit nights, Voit going 2-for-3 with a double, solo shot and two base-on-balls, three runs scored and three driven in, while Katz’ three-run blast was part of a five-run first. Anthony Garcia and Greg Miclat rounded out the ‘Group of Six’, Garcia singling and doubling in three at bats with two walks, two runs scored and two RBI. Miclat went 2-for-5 with the team’s only triple, crossing home once.

Joe Cuda (W, 7-7) gave up three runs through six before yielding another four while recording just two outs the next frame. Cuda allowed 11 hits and a base-on-balls over 6 2/3, the big hit being a three-run bomb in the seventh. The righty plunked one, threw a wild pitch and struck out four.

Danny Miranda gave up a hit in 1 1/3, freezing Cuda’s last runner on. Chris Perry faced the minimum in the ninth.

Saturday’s game: at Brevard County (16-14), 6:35 pm ET, Nick Petree (5-3, 1.93)

Peoria 1 vs Lansing 0

Blake McKnight and Jhonny Polanco combined for a one-hit shutout as the Chiefs edged the Lugnuts 1-0, salvaging the third and final game of the series. Peoria (18-15) has gone 3-7 in their last 10 games, dropping into a four-way tie for second, four in back of Kane County (CHC).

The only hit McKnight, our co-Player of the Day, allowed through seven was a second-inning single, as the Missouri native retired 17 of his last 18, including the last seven straight. McKnight struck out six, walked two and threw 63 of his 91 pitches for strikes. The righty has held the opposition to a .226 batting average while compiling a 2.17 ERA in his most recent 10 starts.

Unable to break through until the home half of the eighth, Peoria’s offense could not get McKnight his sixth win. Instead, the victory went to Polanco (W, 3-0) who struck out two in the final two innings, issuing one free pass.

Knotted in a tight pitching duel, the Chiefs finally scored when Rowan Wick singled with one out, swiped his first full-season bag and raced home on Justin Ringo’s second hit of the night, a single to left. Ringo went 2-for-4 while Wick singled once in three at bats, working one of the team’s three bases-on-balls to go with seven team hits.

Saturday’s game: vs. Great Lakes (16-17) (LAD), 7:00 pm CT, Luis Perdomo (1-1, 5.16)

State College 17 vs Auburn 4

A franchise record in runs scored resulted in the Spikes’ 17-4 shellacking of the Doubledays (WSH), giving State College a 2-0 series’ lead with one game yet to play. State College (29-12) sits atop the Pinckney Division with a very comfortable eight-game advantage over Williamsport (PHI).

State College utilized 14 hits and nine free passes to set the record with a huge third inning being key. Nine of the home team’s 17 tallies crossed home in that frame, when 15 Spikes came to the plate. Robelys Reyes led the way, going 3-for-6 with a double, touching home once and driving in four. Chase Raffield matched that RBI total despite doubling once in four at bats with a base-on-balls and run scored.

Alex De Leon, Luis Cruz and Collin Radack each had two hits. De Leon reached base every time he came to the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double and two-run bomb that got his team on the board in the first. De Leon worked three free passes, scored four runs and knocked in two. Cruz and Radack both touched home twice, driving in two and one respectively, with Radack receiving a base-on-balls.

Dewin Perez gave up three runs on six hits and three walks over seven, raising his record to 3-1. Joe Scanio yielded four hits and two free passes in two, resulting in one run.

Saturday’s game: vs. Auburn (18-22), 7:05 pm ET, Austin Gomber (0-1, 2.13)

Elizabethton 8 at Johnson City 1

The second-place Appy Birds fell to first-place Elizabethton (MIN) 8-1 in the first of three versus the team they trail by five games in the standings.

Matt Pearce (L, 1-3) did not retire any of the three batters faced in the fifth, giving up six runs on five hits and two free passes in four plus. Josh Wirsu allowed both inherited runners to cross plus two of his own, one earned, on two hits and two walks in two. Sasha Kuebel retired the side in order twice while Isaac Silva issued a base-on-balls in his inning of work.

Johnson City outhit their foes 10 to seven but nine of their 10 hits were singles that resulted in just four players reaching scoring position. Jose Gomez, one of three JC-Cards with two hits, singled and doubled in three at bats with a walk and run scored. Casey Turgeon went 2-for-5 with an RBI while Jose Godoy singled twice in four at bats.

Saturday’s game: vs. Elizabethton (22-13), 7:00 pm ET, Dailyn Martinez (2-1, 4.91)

GCL Nationals 6 at GCL Cardinals 2

The first-place GCL Cardinals (19-10) went down to a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the second-place Nationals, which have closed the gap to three games.

Andrew Morales (L, 0-1) gave up a two-run long ball in the second, his only hit to go with three walks over two. Bryan Dobzanski and Steven De La Cruz posted nearly identical lines of two runs yielded on three hits in two, Dobzanski fanning two. Drew Reidt permitted two hits in his two-inning stint while Silas Bohannan tossed a one-two-three ninth.

The Gulf Birds finally got on the board with single tallies in the seventh and eighth, ending the Nationals’ shutout bid. Edmundo Sosa and Michael Pritchard each had two of the team’s even hits, Sosa doubling and tripling in five at bats, crossing home once. Designated hitter Derek Gibson accounted for the other run, smashing his first professional home run, his only hit in two at bats to go with two bases-on-balls.

Saturday’s game: at GCL Nationals (17-14), 10:00 am ET, Davis Ward (1-0, 1.69)

DSL Yankees1 2 at DSL Cardinals 0

(Read this in your best Harry Doyle voice). The last-place Dominican Birds (15-32) lost again but it was at least by a very respectable 2-0 to the DSL Yankees1.

17-year-old Junior Fernandez compiled the best of his four professional outings to date, giving up a run on two hits in six. Jose Lara matched that in two innings, yielding a run on two hits. Kerrion Bennett worked around two bases-on-balls and a hit batsman for a scoreless ninth.

The DSL Cardinals generated just four hits spread among four players.

Saturday’s game: at DSL Yankees1 (27-20), 10:30 am ET, Derian Gonzalez (2-1, 1.82)

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