The Palm Beach Cardinals have watched their Florida State League South lead slip away, as the Bradenton Marauders captured first place in the standings. With over three weeks to play and the Cardinals coming off a 4-6 stretch, they will need to get it going if they want to make the playoffs.
July 30: Lakeland Flying Tigers 5 at Palm Beach 3
Tyrell Jenkins (L, 4-3) dropped his second straight game, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits in five innings. He struck out one and walked one.
Flying Tigers’ catcher Austin Green had his number, going 2-for-3 with a double and homer against Jenkins. His solo homer in the second inning started a three-run outburst by the Tigers.
The Beach Birds couldn’t recover as Tommy Collier (W, 2-1) twirled a gem. He tossed 6.0 innings, scattering four hits, allowing one unearned run in route to his second win of the season.
Bruce Caldwell finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBI for the Cardinals.
July 31: Palm Beach Cardinals 7, Lakeland Flying Tigers 1
The Cardinals found a way to split the series with the Tigers behind a strong pitching performance by Joe Cuda. The righty tossed a quality start, going six innings, allowing one run on eight hits, while striking out six in what would turn out to be his Cardinals organization finale.
Offensively, the Cardinals had it clicking, scoring seven runs on ten hits. Caldwell had another monster game, going 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI. His two-run blast in the first inning gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead and they never looked back.
Ildemaro Vargas had a game-high three hits, while adding two runs scored. The top three hitters in the lineup went 7-for-10 on the night, with six runs scored and four RBI.
August 1: Dunedin Blue Jays 10, Palm Beach Cardinals 8
Luke Weaver (L, 0-1) was drafted in the first round (27th overall) of the 2014 June free agent draft by the Cardinals. The right-hander dominated the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, tossing six scoreless innings and striking out nine batters in four appearances.
On Friday night, Weaver made his long awaited debut for the Beach Birds - but was shelled. He allowed five runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings. Weaver had trouble with his control, walking three batters.
Despite falling behind early, the Cardinals fought hard. They scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to get to within two runs.
August 2: Dunedin Blue Jays 7, Palm Beach Cardinals 4
Nick Petree twirled 5 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball and the Cardinals jumped out to a 4-0 lead through six innings. However, the Blue Jays roared back, scoring seven runs on seven hits in the seventh inning.
Lucky sevens gave the Blue Jays their second straight victory over the Beach Birds. Major Leaguer Brett Lawrie went 2-for-3 in a rehab appearance.
The Cardinals’ Voit got the scoring started with a three-run homer in the second, but it wasn’t enough as the Cardinals dropped their second straight road contest.
August 3: Dunedin Blue Jays 5, Palm Beach Cardinals 4
The slide continued on Sunday night as the Cardinals blew a one run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning and fell to the Blue Jays again.
Chris Perry (L, 0-1), who had been automatic, tossing 7 1/3 scoreless innings in eight games for the Cardinals prior to Sunday night, had a forgettable ninth inning. The righty, allowed two runs on three hits, while recording one out in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the bases loaded, Perry walked in the tying run and allowed the game-winner.
The loss spoiled a great start by Silfredo Garcia. The southpaw went six innings, scattering four hits and allowing two runs with seven strikeouts. He was en route to collect his seventh victory of the season before the bullpen collapse.
August 4: Palm Beach Cardinals 5 at Dunedin Blue Jays 1
Palm Beach salvaged one game in the series, taking the finale over the Blue Jays on Monday afternoon.
In the top of eighth inning, Nick Martini clubbed a tie-breaking grand slam to give the Cardinals the lead and the game. Martini’s lone hit saved the Cardinals from being swept.
August 5: Off Day
Killer Katz: Second baseman Mason Katz has been on fire of late. In his last eight games, he is batting .346 (9-for-26) with five runs scored and two RBI. Five of those hits have come in his last three starts.
Not so Popkins: After leading the team in hitting in 2013, David Popkins has had a rough second stint with the Beach Birds. He is batting .242 with two home runs and 10 RBI through 25 FSL games. In his last five games, he is hitting .150 (3-for-20) with two runs scored and one RBI.
Race is Heating Up: While the Cardinals struggled to win games, the Bradenton Marauders jumped the Beach Birds in the standings. The Cardinals enter play trailing the Pittsburgh Pirate’s Advanced-A affiliate by half a game.
7/31/14 LHP Corey Littrell acquired from Cleveland, assigned to Palm Beach
8/1/14 LHP Kyle Helisek placed on temporary inactive list
8/1/14 RHP Andrew Morales assigned to Palm Beach from GCL
8/1/14 RHP Luke Weaver assigned to Palm Beach from GCL
8/1/14 RHP Joe Cuda released
On the Horizon
The Cardinals continue their six-game home stand with three more contests against Charlotte (TB). Following the Stone Crabs series, the Cardinals will have a showdown with the Fort Myers Miracle (MIN).
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