Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/30/14

Memphis won again, but the GCL Cards went home. Palm Beach and Peoria are hanging on by a thread. Redbirds’ infielder Luis Mateo, with five RBI, is the Player of the Day.

Results from games played Friday, August 29th.

Memphis 11 at New Orleans 6

What a difference a day makes. Though New Orleans scored the same six runs as the night before, Memphis added 10 hits and 10 runs to its losing total from Thursday night, taking game two from the Zephyrs. The Redbirds, down 2-0, came back in the third and continued to pull away. The win took time, as its 3:51 length was the longest nine-inning game in team history.

With Marco Gonzales pulled from the start in favor of a Saturday recall to St. Louis, the game was turned over to the bullpen. The offense put on its hitting shoes to provide adequate cover.

Infielder Luis Mateo, our Player of the Day, tied his career-best night five RBI on a single, double and home run. Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham, Xavier Scruggs and Audry Perez each had two hits, an RBI and at least one run scored (Scruggs had two).

In the first start of his four-year career, Heath Wyatt allowed three runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings. Justin Wright yielded two more and Kevin Siegrist was charged with another. In between, David Aardsma struck out three over 1 1/3 scoreless to record the win. Jorge Rondon collected the final five outs.

Saturday’s game: Memphis (78-62) vs. New Orleans (68-73), 7:00 CT, Zach Petrick (7-6, 4.62)

Playoff watch –Nashville won, keeping the Redbirds up three games in the standings. All three of Memphis’ remaining games are on the road at New Orleans. The two clubs remain tied in the first tiebreaker, best division record, but that may not be needed. The Redbirds’ magic number is two – the combined number of Memphis wins and Nashville losses to lock down the division title.

Springfield 6, Arkansas 3

It was too little, too late for Springfield’s playoff hopes, but they defeated second-half division winner Arkansas for the third straight night in their 2014 finale at Hammons Field.

The Travelers pulled ahead with three runs in the first two innings against starter Kurt Heyer. The score held until the sixth when Curt Smith went deep, a solo shot. After a four-run seventh against the Arkansas pen that included two errors, the Cards scored their final two in the eight on back-to-back jacks from Alex Mejia and Patrick Wisdom.

After the early trouble, Heyer settled down to go seven innings, on six hits and two walks. He fanned six on the way to his fifth win of the year. Mitch Harris tossed the final two innings for his first save.

Breyvic Valera went 3-for-4 out of the leadoff spot but did not score. Wisdom and Travis Tartamella had two hits each, with the third baseman coming home twice and the catcher once.

Saturday’s games: Doubleheader, Springfield (32-34) at Tulsa (31-35), 4:05 CT, Kyle Hald (10-4, 3.85)/TBA

St. Lucie 3 at Palm Beach 1

The skidding Cardinals lost their fourth in a row and second straight to the Mets, while scoring just one run on nine hits over their last 18 innings. Palm Beach fell into a second-place tie with Ft. Myers and both trail Bradenton by a game and a half for the second half division title and associated playoff berth.

In a quality start-loss, Jimmy Reed pitched into the seventh inning. He allowed three runs on eight hits and no walks. Chris Perry, Kevin Herget and Ronnie Shaban tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, but the offense remained quiet.

The Cards’ hitters managed just four hits for the evening, all singles. Anthony Garcia’s second-inning sac fly scored Luke Voit for the lone Palm Beach tally.

Saturday’s game: Palm Beach (39-29) at St. Lucie (35-32), 6:30 ET, Corey Littrell (0-2, 4.39)

Playoff watch – With two games remaining at the Mets, the Cards’ post-season chances are on life support. Bradenton owns the tiebreaker, meaning their magic number is two to eliminate the Cardinals. Ft. Myers is already in the playoffs as first-half champion.

Peoria 10, Beloit 4 - Game one (seven innings)

A one-hour rain delay did not stop the Chiefs from kicking off the twin bill strongly, as the home club banged out 12 hits in the 10-4 win.

Peoria did all its scoring in the first three innings, as four players drove in two runs each – Vaughn Bryan, Justin Ringo, Ronald Castillo and Richy Pedroza. Pedroza, C.J. McElroy and Michael Schulze all scored twice. McElroy swiped a pair of bases, as well.

Starter Chase Brookshire pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Robert Stock tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings on one hit with four strikeouts to earn the win in relief.

Beloit 7 at Peoria 2 - Game two (seven innings)

Another delay, this time two hours, before the start of the second game, led to a long night at Dozer Field. It probably felt even longer as the Chiefs dropped game two, seriously damaging their dwindling playoff chances.

The time, the Snappers got out of the gates first, scoring four runs, two earned, in the first inning against Kyle Helisek. The weather was sloppy, but so was the Peoria defense as they committed four errors against just five hits.

Ronald Castillo had two hits and scored along with Rowan Wick (walk) on Ronnierd Garcia’s RBI double in the fourth to temporarily bring the Chiefs back to within two.

However, in the top of the fifth, the visitors put up two more of their own (one earned) against Blake McKnight. Beloit added another unearned run in the seventh after reliever Jacob Booden unleashed a pair of wild pitches, allowing a runner to score who initially reached via a passed ball on strike three. It was that kind of game for the Chiefs, whose post-season aspirations are slipping away.

Saturday’s game: Peoria (33-34) at Kane County (45-22), 6:30 CT, Alex Reyes (6-7, 3.77).

Playoff watch – With just three games remaining, all at first-place Kane County, the Chiefs face a steep uphill climb. They are one of three clubs battling for the division’s lone wild card. The Chiefs are tied with Quad Cities, two games behind Wisconsin. At least the Chiefs hold the tiebreaker with the River Bandits, but not against Wisconsin. The Timber Rattlers’ magic number to eliminate the Chiefs is just one.

Batavia 6 at State College 1 (10 innings)

An excellent start by Will Anderson was wasted as the Spikes fell apart in the 10th inning. Two errors, two hit batters by reliever Josh Lucas, an intentional walk and three hits led to five Muckdogs unearned runs.

Anderson went six innings, allowing just one run on six hits and no walks along with three strikeouts. Joe Scanio threw the next three scoreless on just one hit.

Alex DeLeon scored the only State College run in the second. After walking, he eventually scored on a wild pitch. Nick Thompson went 2-for-3 with a walk. Brett Wiley singled and doubled in four at-bats.

Saturday’s game: State College (45-28) vs. Batavia (33-40), 7:05 ET, Fernando Baez (2-2, 3.89)

Playoff watch – The Spikes fall to the third seed in the New York-Penn League playoffs with three games remaining in the regular season. State College is tied with the Tri-City Valley Cats for the second seed, but Tri-City holds the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Spikes are two games back of the top seed, Hudson Valley.

Johnson City 7, Greeneville 2

Johnson City finished the regular season on a high note, defeating Greeneville, 7-2.

The Cardinals scored two in the first and never looked back. Casey Grayson was on base four times with a single, two walks and a home run. The designated hitter scored twice and drove in three. Jesus Ustariz had a perfect, but unusual night. The first baseman had four singles and walk, but neither scored nor had an RBI. Batting behind Grayson had something to do with the latter. Oscar Mercado singled, doubled, stole his 26th base and scored two runs.

Starter and winning pitcher Steven Farinaro was strong, allowing just two hits and a walk over six innings. Only one of the two runs scored against him was earned.

Saturday’s game: off-day

Playoff watch – Johnson City has an off day Saturday as they prepare for their first playoff game since 2012. The Cardinals will host the Elizabethton Twins in game one of the semi-finals on Sunday at 4 p.m. Games two and three (if necessary) will be played at Elizabethton on Monday and Tuesday night.

GCL Red Sox 7 at Cardinals 4

A successful season for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals ended in a disappointing fashion on Friday. The club lost its one-game semifinal to the visiting Red Sox, ending an eight-game winning streak.

The Cardinals broke out of the gates quickly with three in the first, but the Sox tied the game with single tallies in the second, third and fourth. They put the Cards away with a four-spot in the seventh.

Ramon Santos started, yielding three runs, two earned, over 3 2/3 innings. Losing pitcher Dylan Hawkins and Steven De La Cruz were charged with two runs each in the fateful seventh.

Derek Gibson led the offense with a double, home run and three RBI. Edmundo Sosa singled twice and walked, scoring once. Michael Pritchard, now on his way to Johnson City, went 2-for-4 and crossed home once.

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