Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/18/14

The system went 5-3 on what turned out to be double-header Sunday. Cole Lankford’s two bombs led Johnson City to a split of its twin bill while State College swept. Memphis won again as did Springfield but the rest fell. The GCL and DSL clubs were idle.

Results from games played Sunday, August 17th.

Memphis 7 at El Paso 5

The Redbirds clipped the Chihuahuas 7-5 on Sunday, taking a 2-0 lead in their four-game set. The win was the eighth straight for Memphis (70-58), giving them sole possession of first place in the American Southern Division.

The visitors used a six-run fifth to launch them to victory, led by Randal Grichuk’s 23rd home run of the season, a three-run shot with Tim Cooney (single) and Tommy Pham (walk) aboard. Scott Moore (walk) and Stephen Piscotty (single) were the fourth and fifth consecutive batters to reach base, both scoring when Xavier Scruggs tripled to right. A throwing error by El Paso’s pitcher both allowed Greg Garcia to reach, the seventh straight Redbird to do so, and Scruggs to cross the plate.

Scruggs ended up a long ball shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a double, triple and base-on-balls, touching home once and knocking in two. Grichuk and Piscotty both went 2-for-5 with a run scored, Grichuk acquiring three RBI on the aforementioned bomb. Four other Redbirds had one hit each.

Tim Cooney (W, 12-6) held the opposition to two runs on eight hits and a walk through five. One of the eight hits was a solo shot. Cooney struck out four. Ryan Sherriff had a bumpy sixth, yielding a run on three hits, retiring two.

Heath Wyatt limited the damage to Sherriff by stranding two of his runners but gave up two scores on a hit batsman, double and single in the seventh. Dean Kiekhefer and Eric Fornataro held El Paso (SD) scoreless over the final 2 1/3, Kiekhefer allowing two hits and a free pass while recording two outs and Fornataro sending back all five batters faced, earning his 13th save. Both relievers struck out two and stranded an inherited runner.

Monday’s game: at second-place (Pacific Southern) El Paso (61-68), 8:05 pm CT, Marco Gonzales (2-1, 4.01)

Spotlight on – Marco Gonzales. Gonzales struggled in his most recent start against Albuquerque, giving up runs in three of his five innings of work. The southpaw permitted four runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batter. He will be facing El Paso for the first time.

Springfield 5 vs. Midland 1

A trio of S-Cards’ pitchers spun a four-hitter that resulted in a 5-1 win over Midland (OAK), clinching the series.

The only run charged to Jonathan Cornelius (W, 11-9) through six was a home run, one of four hits the righty yielded. Cornelius threw 54 of his 79 pitches for strikes, struck out two and did not issue a free pass.

Mitch Harris retired all six batters faced, fanning two. Jeremy Berg bounced back from a sub-par outing against South Division leader Frisco by retiring the side in order in the ninth, two of them via the strikeout.

The S-Cards pushed across single tallies in the first, sixth and eighth plus a two-run third that put them ahead for good. Five players generated multi-hit games, paced by Matt Williams’ 3-for-4 effort. Cody Stanley went 2-for-3 with a first-inning bomb, touching home twice and working one free pass.

Rafael Ortega and David Popkins joined Stanley with two hits each. Ortega and Williams each scored once while Popkins walked once with an RBI. Stanley and Williams both swiped a bag.

Monday’s game: Off.

Spotlight on – Cody Stanley. The 2014 Texas League All-Star is compiling the best offensive numbers of his career, a line of .298/.351/.456/.807, 102-for-342 in 90 games. Behind the dish, Stanley has thrown out 24 of 56 base runners attempting to steal while being charged with three passed balls and five errors.

Palm Beach 5 at Fort Myers 6 (11)

In the decisive third game of their series, Fort Myers walked off with a 6-5 win over Palm Beach (33-23) in 11 innings on Sunday.

Corey Baker took his second loss in five decisions, yielding three runs on five hits and a free pass in 3 1/3. The winning score crossed on a single given up by Ronnie Shaban to his first batter faced.

It was a mixed bag for starter Corey Littrell, who limited the Miracle to three runs, two earned, over 5 2/3 but permitted 10 hits and three walks during that span. Logan Billbrough bridged the gap from Littrell to Baker, allowing a hit and walk in 1 1/3, leaving Littrell’s last runner aboard.

Bruce Caldwell and David Washington both had two of nine team hits, Caldwell scoring once with an RBI and Washington doubling and walking once while driving in one. Nick Martini worked two free passes, scoring twice despite going 0-for-4.

Monday’s game: Off

Spotlight on – Corey Baker. Despite Sunday’s hiccup, Baker has done well in 72 2/3 innings at Palm Beach, giving up 54 hits and 14 walks for a 0.94 WHIP and holding opponents to a collective .203 batting average. The righty has not been nearly as good in his brief stint at Double-A Springfield, where he was knocked around for 12 hits and two free passes in just 8 2/3 frames, a 1.62 WHIP and .353 Batting Average Against.

Peoria 4 at Cedar Rapids 5

A run off new arrival Jacob Booden in the ninth doomed the Chiefs to a 5-4 loss, their sixth in 10 games, including the last three against the Kernels (MIN).

The tally scored via a double and two wild pitches delivered by Booden (L, 0-1) in his full-season debut. The right-hander issued two free passes and gave up a hit in 1 2/3, striking out one.

Starter Kyle Helisek went 5 1/3, permitting seven hits and two walks. Three of the four runs given up by Helisek were the result of a home run in the fifth. Jhonny Polanco yielded two hits in 1 2/3 and did not walk a batter.

Peoria (27-28) took an early 3-0 lead with three in the second, pushing across one more in the sixth that tied the game at four all. Designated hitter Juan Herrera was the only Chief with more than one hit, singling and doubling in four at bats with one driven in. Catcher Steve Bean garnered one of the five remaining hits, going 1-for-2 with two bases-on-balls, touching home twice.

Monday’s game: vs. Beloit (18-36) (OAK), 6:30 pm CT, Alex Reyes (6-6, 3.89)

Spotlight on – Alex Reyes. Reyes did quite well in his last start, holding fifth-place Burlington to three hits and two free passes in six scoreless innings. The 19-year-old most recently faced the Snappers on July 29th when he was charged with three runs on six hits and four walks in four.

State College 4 at Auburn 1 (7) – game one
State College 7 at Auburn 4 (7) – game two

State College (38-25) took a pair at Auburn (WSH) on Sunday, 4-1 and 7-4, completing a three-game sweep.

Danny Diekroeger and Luis Cruz both went yard in the opener, providing the margin of victory. Diekroeger’s solo shot put the Spikes on the board in the first and Cruz’s two-run blast increased the margin to 3-0 through two. Brett Wiley opened the second with the first of his three hits, scoring when Cruz lined one over the wall in left. Wiley went 3-for-4 with a double, run scored and RBI, garnering half of State College’s hits.

Trey Nielsen tossed the first four, yielding four hits and a base-on-balls with three strikeouts. Brandon Lee was credited with his second win versus two losses, yielding a tally on four hits and a free pass in two. Lee fanned three and threw two wild pitches. Kyle Grana gave up a hit and struck out two for his sixth save.

Game two, the make-up contest for the rainout on August 16th, saw the Spikes take a 2-0 lead, fall behind 4-2 and tie it up at four all before going up for good in the last inning.

Eight of nine Spikes accumulated at least one of the team’s 10 hits, with Kenny Peoples-Walls and Jake Stone each having two. Peoples-Walls singled twice in three at bats out of the nine hole, touching home twice, while Stone went 2-for-4 with one knocked in. Robelys Reyes’ third long ball of 2014 was a two-run shot that knotted things up in the fifth after the Doubledays took a brief 4-2 lead in the home half of the fourth.

Diekroeger took part in three of the tallies, going 1-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Wiley doubled once in four at bats, scoring once.

Fernando Baez shut down Auburn through three but could not retire any of his six fourth-inning batters. Baez yielded four runs on five hits and three bases-on-balls, striking out three.

New Spike Kender Villegas allowed three hits in 2 1/3 and left two of Baez’ runners on base. Josh Lucas stranded two inherited runners, struck out four of six batters faced, hit one and picked up his second win in three decisions.

Monday’s game: Off for the New York-Penn League All-Star break. The game will be held on Tuesday night at Brooklyn, NY. State College will be represented by second baseman Darren Seferina, shortstop Robelys Reyes, righty starter Will Anderson and righty reliever Kyle Grana.

Spotlight on – Darren Seferina. The 2014 All-Star’s freshman campaign consists of an offensive line of .308/.367/.390/.757, 49-for-159 in 41 games. He has heated up of late, going .341/.357/.439/.796 in 41 August at bats. A native of Curacao, the 20-year-old was drafted in the 5th round in June out of Miami Dade Community College. Seferina has not played since being pinch hit for in the third inning of August 14th’s game.

Johnson City 6 at Bristol 14 (7) – game one
Johnson City 8 at Bristol 2 (7) – game two

Johnson City (30-27) split Sunday’s twin bill at Bristol, falling 14-6 in the opener but taking the finale 8-2. Two games remain on tap versus the Pirates.

Steven Farinaro and Jeff Barkley gave up scores in five of six innings in game one, Farinaro suffering his fourth loss against two wins. The righty was torched for nine runs on 13 hits and a walk in three plus, his final run scoring with Barkley on the mound. Barkley was charged with five runs, four earned, on seven hits, a base-on-balls, two wild pitches and a plunked batter in 2 2/3. Anderson Gerdel struck out his only batter faced, leaving one on.

Jesus Ustariz went 2-for-3 with a double and RBI, the only Appy Bird with more than one of eight team hits. Blake Drake singled once in four at bats, knocking in two.

Things went much better in the nightcap, a make-up game for the June 27th postponement. The JC-Cards pounced for three in the first, increased their lead to 5-1 after fourth before adding three more in the fifth.

Cole Lankford, our Player of the Day, was responsible for six of his squad’s tallies in just two swings of his bat. Lankford’s bombs came in the first and fifth, both times with two aboard. The first baseman added a single, going 3-for-4 with two home runs, scored twice and drove in six. Casey Turgeon’s fourth bomb of 2014 provided the other two runs, Turgeon going 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBI.

Sasha Kuebel tossed the initial four innings, giving up a solo bomb that was one of three hits yielded. Kuebel struck out four, did not issue a free pass but did hit one batter. Jonathan Escudero (W, 3-1) allowed a tally on three hits and a walk over three, fanning three.

Monday’s game: at Bristol (17-39), 7:00 pm ET, Matt Pearce (2-3, 4.00)

Spotlight on – Matt Pearce. Pearce has completed five innings in each of his two most recent starts but with decidedly different results. On July 31st he limited fourth-place Greeneville to a run on five hits but gave up four runs on four hits and two bases-on-balls versus second-place Kingsport on August 12th. Pearce faced the Pirates in a July 19th start, permitting an unearned run on four hits through four.

GCL Cardinals - off

The Gulf Coast League does not play on Sundays.

Monday’s game: GCL Cardinals (29-20) vs. GCL Mets (25-25), 12:00 pm ET, Jack Flaherty

Spotlight on – Jack Flaherty. With Saturday’s postponement, Flaherty may well get the nod over Dylan Hawkins for Monday’s start. The California native received a no decision versus the Marlins on August 11th, giving up just one hit while hitting one in four innings. Flaherty last faced the Mets on July 28th when he tossed three shutout frames with a hit and walk given up.

DSL Cardinals - off

The Dominican Summer League takes Sundays off.

Monday’s game: The DSL Cardinals (20-46) head into the final week of their season with six games remaining. First up is a road game against the DSL Mets1 (34-31), 10:30 am ET, tandem start – Oneiver Diaz (1-3, 2.92)/Will Changarotty (1-4, 5.44)

Spotlight on – Oneiver Diaz. Diaz only faced two batters last time out, exiting after recording a fly out followed by a walk. The 17-year-old has compiled a very solid freshman campaign, giving up 41 hits and nine walks in 37 innings for a 1.35 WHIP. He trails only David Oca’s 1.15 WHIP for the Dominican Birds’ standard group of starters. Opposing batters hit .279 against him.

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