Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/23/14

St. Louis’ minors compiled another excellent record on Friday, going 7-1 with all seven active teams remaining in the play-off hunt. Tim Cooney and Daniel Poncedeleon pitched Memphis and State College one game closer to division titles.

Results from games played Friday, August 22nd.

Memphis 4 vs. Sacramento 1

Co-Player of the Day Tim Cooney tossed seven strong frames as the Redbirds downed the River Cats 4-1, taking a two-games-to-one series lead with one to go. Memphis (73-60) sits atop the American Southern Division, a game up on Nashville (MIL).

The only tally charged to Cooney (W, 13-6) crossed the plate in the first on two singles and a sac fly. The lefty retired 14 of 15 at one point before permitting his only walk plus his fourth and last single to open the sixth. Cooney fanned six River Cats (OAK) and threw 62 of his 97 pitches for strikes.

Kevin Siegrist and Eric Fornataro each went one inning, Siegrist striking out two and issuing a free pass. Fornataro tossed a one-two-three ninth for his 14th save.

The offense was a team-wide affair, six Memphis batters either scoring or driving in one. Luis Mateo, Pete Kozma and Xavier Scruggs each had two of 10 team hits, Mateo doubling twice in four at bats with an RBI. Kozma went 2-for-3 with a double, run scored and was hit once. Ed Easley’s hot streak continued, the catcher going 1-for-3 with a solo shot and two RBI.

Saturday’s game: vs. first-place (Pacific Northern) Sacramento (74-60), 6:05 pm CT, Marco Gonzales (3-1, 3.86)

Spotlight on – Marco Gonzales. Gonzales is coming off one of his better Triple-A efforts in which he held second-place (Pacific Northern) El Paso (SD) to two runs on eight hits through six. He will be making his 21st minor league start of 2014, eighth for the Redbirds.

Springfield 3 at Northwest Arkansas 2

The S-Cards’ bunched half of their hits in a single frame, resulting in a 3-2 win over The Naturals (KC).

Second-place Springfield (29-30) has won six in a row, including a four-game sweep of Northwest Arkansas, but trails Arkansas by five. Since the Texas League’s play-off format does not include a wild card team, the S-Cards need to finish in first. They will host the Travelers for four, beginning on August 26th.

Four of the team’s eight hits were generated in the third, resulting in all three Springfield runs. Breyvic Valera tripled home Rafael Ortega (single) before Curt Smith’s single drove in Valera. A single by Charlie Tilson brought across Jonathan Rodriguez (walk) for the inning’s final score.

Tilson led the attack, going 3-for-4 with his second Double-A stolen base. Valera and Smith both went 2-for-4, Valera adding a base-on-balls.

Mike Mayers (W, 5-5) hurled his third consecutive quality start, limiting the opposition to two runs on eight hits and two free passes over six. The Ohio native fanned five.

Facing the Naturals for the third time in four games, Mitch Harris permitted a hit in two innings, striking out two. Joe Donofrio worked around a lead-off single by retiring three straight, two on swinging K’s, earning his 13th save.

Saturday’s game: vs. fourth-place Tulsa (25-34) (COL), 6:10 pm CT, Ryan Sherriff (2-5, 2.25)

Spotlight on – Breyvic Valera. A veteran of nearly five years of pro ball, the 22-year-old has steadily progressed through the system. Valera begin 2014 with A-Advanced Palm Beach after spending all of 2013 at class A Peoria, batting .333 in 294 at bats over 73 games. The second baseman has a solid .280 batting average at Springfield although his bat has gone cold recently with a .184 average over his last 10 games.

Bradenton 5 at Palm Beach 2 – game one
Palm Beach 4 vs. Bradenton 1 (7) – game two

The PB-Cards split a Friday double-header with the Marauders (PIT), dropping the opener 5-2 but taking the finale 4-1, giving each team one of the series’ initial two games with two still on tap. Palm Beach (37-24) is tied for first with Fort Myers (MIN) in the very tight South Division, a game ahead of Bradenton.

Game one finished a July 6th game suspended with the Marauders up 3-1, two out and a Beach Bird aboard in the bottom of the fifth. Joe Cuda (L, 5-7) started on the 6th, yielding three runs, one earned, on four hits and two walks over five.

Thomas Lee took the ball when play resumed on Friday, giving up four hits and a walk in three, resulting in two runs, and striking out three. New arrival Steve Sabatino faced the minimum in the ninth.

Palm Beach turned four hits, a sac fly and two key free passes into two scores. Charlie Tilson walked on the 6th, scoring on Ildemaro Vargas’ double. David Washington worked a base-on-balls when play picked back up and was driven in on a sac fly by Luke Voit.

Jimmy Reed came through for his team in the nightcap, scattering six hits and a walk over six, resulting in one tally. Reed fanned three with eight ground- and five fly-ball outs. The lefty has surrendered three or fewer runs in seven of his eight Beach Birds starts and the team has gone 7-1 with him on the mound. Kevin Herget (S, 2) gave up a hit with two wild pitches in the seventh, striking out two.

Luke Voit went 2-for-3, scored twice and knocked in one, accounting for three of his team’s four runs. Mason Katz singled twice in three at bats, driving in one, the only other Beach Bird with more than one of the team’s 10 hits.

Saturday’s game: vs. Bradenton (36-25), 6:35 pm ET, Corey Littrell (0-1, 4.58)

Spotlight on – Corey Littrell. Littrell has had mixed results in his three Palm Beach starts. Last time out, the southpaw held Fort Myers to three runs, two earned, in 5 2/3 but gave up 10 hits and three free passes.

Peoria 3 vs. Wisconsin 2

The Chiefs rallied for two in the ninth as they walked off with a 3-2 victory over the Timber Rattlers (MIL), giving them the first two of their three-game set. A win on Saturday would pull fourth-place Peoria (30-30) even in the Wild Card chase.

With Peoria trailing 2-1 and down to their last three outs, C.J. McElroy singled to get the inning started, his second hit in four at bats. Richy Pedroza sacrificed McElroy to second before Carson Kelly worked a free pass. Justin Ringo’s single loaded the bases for Ronald Castillo who got one deep enough to center to bring McElroy in, knotting the game at two all. Rowan Wick’s fourth Chiefs’ double drove in Michael Schulze, who was pinch running for Kelly, for the game winner. McElroy was the only Peoria batter with a multi-hit game, four other players having one hit each.

Robert Stock issued one base-on-balls over the final 1 1/3, picking up his first win against two losses. Starter Arturo Reyes struck seven through the first six, giving up two runs, one earned, on six hits and three walks. Jacob Booden bridged the 1 2/3-inning gap between Reyes and Stock, fanning two while issuing a free pass.

Saturday’s game: vs. third-place Wisconsin (31-29), 6:30 pm CT, Kyle Helisek (1-0, 6.57)

Spotlight on – Kyle Helisek. Helisek is pitching as if he is still trying to re-group after being re-assigned from Palm Beach in early August. The lefty has been touched for four runs in each of his last two starts spanning 10 1/3 frames. Helisek faced Wisconsin in the first of those two aforementioned starts.

State College 8 at Jamestown 0

The Spikes nailed the Jammers 8-0 in Friday’s series opener. First-place State College (40-26) leads second-place Jamestown (PIT) by nine games and can clinch their second straight division title with a win on Saturday.

Six Spikes produced multi-hit performances, led by third baseman Danny Diekroeger who went 3-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored and an RBI. Centerfielder Jhohan Acevedo was also responsible for three tallies, singling twice in four at bats while touching home two times and knocking one in.

After taking Thursday off, Darren Seferina came back with a 2-for-5 effort, doubling once and scoring twice. Nick Thompson and Jake Stone both went 2-for-4 with an RBI, Stone doubling once with a base-on-balls. The final State College batter with more than one hit was shortstop Robelys Reyes, who singled and doubled in four at bats, scoring once.

Co-Player of the Day Daniel Poncedeleon (W, 2-3, 2.75) struck out eight over the first five, surrendering four hits and two free passes. Poncedeleon exited with a 3-0 lead that ballooned to an 8-0 advantage by the time Nick Lomascolo took the mound the next inning.

Lomascolo fanned three over two frames, issuing two bases-on-balls. Joe Scanio struck out all three of his batters in the eighth while Josh Lucas yielded a hit with a strikeout in the ninth.

Saturday’s game: at Jamestown (30-34), 7:05 pm ET, Will Anderson (5-2, 2.31)

Spotlight on – Will Anderson. With 58 1/3 innings under his belt for the Spikes, Anderson is just one retired batter off tying Dewin Perez for the team lead and Anderson accomplished his number in two fewer starts. His 2.31 ERA places the all-star third in the NYPL. Anderson last faced Jamestown on July 6th, when he held them to two runs on five hits in seven innings.

Johnson City 3 at Danville 2

Juan Perez tossed six solid frames as the JC-Cards edged the Braves 3-2, clinching a series’ win with one game remaining.

Second-place Johnson City (33-28) moves to within a half-game of Elizabethton (MIN) with the win and has sole possession of the West Division wild card by 1 ½ games over Kingsport (NYM), a team they still play three more times in their last seven regular season contests.

Perez (W, 5-3) fanned seven through the first six, allowing six hits and two walks, resulting in two tallies. Kevin Carlow struck out three in the next two innings, yielding a base-on-balls. Kender Villegas retired the side in order in the ninth, fanning two, for his second save.

The Appy Birds matched Danville’s six hits and three walks, Casey Grayson’s 2-for-4 effort being the team’s only multi-hit performance. Grayson did not figure in the scoring. Blake Drake’s two-out double drove in Carlos Torres (single) and Casey Turgeon (walk), putting his team up 2-1 mid-way through three.

A run off Perez in the bottom of the frame tied the game at 2-2 where it remained until the seventh when Johnson City scored an unearned run off Danville’s bullpen. Devante Lacy doubled and scored the winning run on a sac bunt and subsequent throwing error.

Saturday’s game: at third-place (East) Danville (33-27), 7:00 pm ET, Steven Farinaro (2-4, 5.11)

Spotlight on – Steven Farinaro. Farinaro will be making his 10th start, the 19-year-old having tossed 37 innings so far. He has allowed 55 hits with opposing batters torching him at a .335 clip. Farinaro will be facing the Braves for the first time.

GCL Cardinals 9 at GCL Marlins 2

The first-place GCL Cardinals (31-23) defeated the GCL Marlins for the second day in a row, this time 9-2, putting them two games up on the GCL Mets. The six remaining games in the Gulf Birds’ regular season schedule include two against the second-place team.

The visitors’ 14-hit attack was led by three players with three hits apiece: Jake Gronsky, Michael Pritchard and Derek Gibson. Gronsky was a perfect 3-for-3 as the designated hitter, walking once with a run scored and three RBI. Pritchard and Gibson both singled three times in four at bats, working a free pass while Pritchard crossed three times and drove in one. Gibson knocked in four.

Ramon Santos shut down the Fish on two hits over six but did issue five free passes. Kevin Alexander and Yeison Medina each worked a perfect frame but the Gulf Cards’ shutout bid ended when Steven De La Cruz allowed two runs on three hits in the ninth.

Saturday’s game: vs. fourth-place GCL Marlins (23-32), 10:00 am ET, TBA

Spotlight onJery Then. The 19-year-old is putting up impressive numbers in his maiden campaign as a professional. Then has thrown 16 2/3 frames in nine games, including one start. During that span the righty has surrendered just 10 hits with 20 strikeouts and just five walks, for an 0.90 WHIP, 4:1 K/BB ratio and .175 batting average against.

DSL Cardinals at DSL Mariners - postponed

The Dominican Birds’ contest versus the DSL Mariners was rained out. While the game is not included in MiLB’s slate of games for Saturday, it is likely to be played as part of a double-header that is the Cardinals’ season finale. Or not. We’ll see.

Saturday’s game: vs. DSL Mariners (27-43). Game one – 10:30 am ET, Junior Fernandez (0-5, 5.79)/Derian Gonzalez (2-2, 3.11)

Spotlight on – Derian Gonzalez. At 19, Gonzalez is the oldest starter in the Dominican Cardinals’ rotation, David Oca being just over five months his junior. Gonzalez has improved upon his stats from 2013, his first as a pro, going from a 1.66 WHIP last season to a 1.35 WHIP in 2014. That improvement is mainly the result of improved control, the righty walking an average of 3.6 batters every nine innings versus a 6.15 average in 2013.



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