Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 09/01/14

It was a rough day in the system with Palm Beach and Peoria eliminated and Johnson City losing its playoff opener. State College’s Luis Cruz is the Player of the Day for two game-winning hits less than 24 hours apart.

Results from games played Sunday, August 31st.

New Orleans 5, Memphis 4 (suspended game from Saturday)

This game was suspended due to rain during Saturday night’s fifth inning with the score 2-2. When the contest resumed on Sunday, the Zephyrs took the lead on a sac fly from a runner Dean Kiekhefer inherited from Saturday starter Zach Petrick.

The Redbirds captured the lead with two in the seventh, but David Aardsma blew the save with a run allowed in the bottom of the frame. Memphis took the loss when Eric Fornataro gave up a solo home run in the eighth.

Ed Easley singled, doubled and plated two. Tommy Pham singled, stole two bases, scored and had two RBI.

New Orleans 4, Memphis 1 (seven innings)

In a scoreless contest through four, the Zephyrs touched Redbirds starter Boone Whiting for a single tally in the fifth and three more in the sixth. Whiting was knocked out after 5 2/3 innings and eight hits. He fanned seven. New arrival Sam Tuivailala may have been a bit nervous in his Triple-A debut, throwing a wild pitch and hitting a batter before getting the final out on a strikeout.

The Redbirds offense managed just six hits. Mike O’Neill went 2-for-3 but was caught stealing once. Audry Perez’ solo home run in the final inning avoided the shutout.

In a noteworthy move, Xavier Scruggs started his second career game in the outfield. The right fielder walked, singled and was also thrown out trying to swipe a base.

Monday’s game: Memphis (78-64) at New Orleans (70-73) 2:00 ET, Tim Cooney (14-6, 3.47)

Playoff watch – American Southern Division champion Memphis will take on the American Northern Division winner Omaha Storm Chasers (KC) in the best-of-five first round.

The Redbirds will host semi-final games three through five (if required), with the first home game at AutoZone Park scheduled for Friday night.

Tulsa 4, Springfield 3 (10 innings)

In his first rehab start, Michael Wacha faced the minimum over two after a hitter that singled was erased in a double play. He departed after an error, stolen base and walk to open the third. Wacha threw 34 pitches.

After Sam Gaviglio yielded three runs over the next five, the other St. Louis rehabber, Jason Motte, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.

With the S-Cards down 3-2 in the ninth, Travis Tartamella’s RBI single scored Ildemaro Vargas (reached via error) to push the game in to extras.

Lee Stoppelman took the loss in the 10th after allowing a double and a sacrifice bunt, with the run scoring on a throwing error by third baseman Patrick Wisdom.

The Cardinals offense managed just five hits in 10 innings. Jonathan Rodriguez singled twice and scored. The other two RBI were credited to Gaviglio and Matt Williams.

Monday’s game: Springfield (67-71) at Tulsa (70-67), 1:05 CT, TBA

St. Lucie 4, Palm Beach 2

The Cardinals playoff hopes ended in their final game of the Florida State League schedule.

Starter Tyrell Jenkins yielded a four-spot in the third inning Sunday on a single, three doubles and two wild pitches. Though Jenkins stayed in through seven, the damage was done.

The Palm Beach offense could only get two back, scoring on a Cesar Valera RBI single and a Mason Katz solo homer, his 20th of the season between Peoria and Palm Beach. Though the Cards had 10 hits, they were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.

Palm Beach finished the season 13 games over .500 at 76-63, with one game cancelled.

Kane County 9, Peoria 2

The Chiefs were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss. Peoria briefly took the lead at 2-1 in the fourth, but the Cougars plated three in the bottom of the frame against Luis Perdomo and never looked back.

The starter was pulled one out into the fourth with one run in. Two of Perdomo’s runners came in while Tyler Bray was on the mound. Kane County put the visitors away with four more against Blake McKnight in the seventh.

Peoria’s offense managed just three hits, including Luis Perez’ solo home run and Carson Kelly’s RBI single.

Monday’s game: Peoria (34-35) at Kane County (46-23), 1:00 CT, Rob Kaminsky (8-2, 1.69)

State College 5 at Williamsport 1

Luis Cruz continued his clutch hitting. A night after plating the winning run in the 15th inning, the outfielder came through again with a tie-breaking single in the sixth and a three-run homer in the eighth to provide breathing room. Technically, both his game-winners were on Sunday, making Cruz our clear Player of the Day.

Starter Trey Nielsen settled down after yielding a solo homer in the first inning. He went a career-long five innings, on just three hits and a walk while striking out a career-high seven batters in a no-decision.

Two new arrivals from the GCL finished off the Crosscutters. Tyler Dunnington earned the win with three scoreless frames on two hits and a walk while notching three strikeouts. Kevin Alexander fanned the side in the ninth.

Cruz, Danny Diekroeger and Alex De Leon collected three hits each and Brett Wiley doubled twice.

Monday’s game: State College (47-28) at Williamsport (33-42), 1:05 ET, Austin Gomber (1-2, 2.70)

Playoff watch – State College remains locked in a tie with Tri-City for the best record in the New York-Penn League with one game remaining. Hudson Valley had also been tied but lost in a rain-shortened five-inning contest at Aberdeen Sunday night. The Renegades have filed a protest to the league, asking the game be played a full nine innings. Playoffs begin on Wednesday, but neither the opponent nor the location are set.

Elizabethton 7 at Johnson City 6 (13 innings)

The Appalachian League playoffs began Sunday afternoon with the only home game for Johnson City in the first round. The fans got their money’s worth with 13 innings of baseball, but the Cards ultimately fell on a double and RBI single against reliever Kevin Carlow.

Dailyn Martinez made a strong start, allowing two runs, one earned, over six innings. Johnson City briefly took a 4-2 lead in the sixth, but the Twins came right back with four in the seventh against relievers Juan Caballero and Kender Villegas. The Cards then scratched out single tallies in the seventh and eighth on a wild pitch and an error to force extra innings. Jonathan Escudero threw 3 2/3 scoreless frames to bridge to Carlow.

Casey Grayson went 4-for-6 including a double and a run scored. Jesus Ustariz went 2-for-4 and scored once. Jose Godoy had a single and a double in six at-bats with an RBI.

Monday’s game: Johnson City at Elizabethton, 7:00 ET, Landon Beck (1-1, 3.19)

Playoff watch – In the best of three format, the Cardinals play at the Twins for game two (and game three on Tuesday night if necessary). To advance, Johnson City must win both road contests.

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