Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 8/26/15

Corey Littrell pitched Palm Beach to a big victory over its chief division rival, one of four victories in the minors. Nick Thompson’s bat got Peoria back on track while Memphis and the GCL Cardinals both notched wins. Springfield, State College and Johnson City all went down to defeat.

Results from games played Tuesday, August 25th.

Memphis 8 at Tacoma 2

Eight runs over the first three innings lifted the Redbirds past the Rainiers, 8-2, for a two-games-to-one series’ lead. Memphis (66-65) remains in second, five behind Round Rock (TEX).

The visitors exploded for 15 hits, as five Redbirds had two each: Dan Johnson, Dean Anna, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Aledmys Diaz and Rafael Ortega. Johnson went yard twice in three at bats – a two-run bomb in the first and three-run shot the next inning – adding two base-on-balls to go with his two runs scored and five RBI.

Anna also touched home twice, going 2-for-4 with a sac fly and two driven in. Hazelbaker and Diaz posted identical marks, singling twice in four at bats, crossing home once. Ortega went 2-for-5 with a run scored.

That effort more than sufficed for Tyler Lyons (W, 9-5), who limited Tacoma to a run in fifth and final inning of work. In his first start since rejoining Memphis from St. Louis, the southpaw allowed three hits and a free pass, fanning six.

Justin Wright struck out three in 1 1/3 but yielded a tally on three hits. Miguel Socolovich retired five straight, fanning three, while Sam Tuivailala tossed a one-two-three ninth.

Wednesday’s game: at Tacoma (61-70), 7:05 pm PT, Arturo Reyes (0-1, 7.71)

Springfield 4 at Northwest Arkansas 7

A grand slam against the S-Cards’ bullpen turned a 4-3 lead into a 7-4 loss in the first of three versus the Naturals. Springfield (27-30) has gone 3-7 over the last 10 games, losing their perch atop the North Division to Arkansas, which they now trail by three.

Kyle Hald was solid through six, striking out seven while permitting three runs on five hits and three walks. Four runs in the visitors half of the seventh put Hald in line for the victory but Thomas Lee and Ronnie Shaban were unable to hold.

Lee (L, 7-4) made it through the seventh unscathed but not the eighth, sandwiching a single and double around two outs. He issued an intentional free pass before turning the game over to Shaban (BS, 5). Shaban served up a big fat one to his first batter.

Bruce Caldwell and Nick Martini generated half of their team’s hits, each going 2-for-4. Caldwell doubled once, scoring one and driving in one.

Wednesday’s game: at fourth-place Northwest Arkansas (22-34), 7:05 pm CT, Corey Baker (5-5, 4.50)

Palm Beach 5 vs. Bradenton 0

Corey Littrell and Josh Lucas combined on a four-hitter as Palm Beach blanked Bradenton, 5-0, for the series’ win. The PB-Cards (39-19) moved back to four games ahead of the Marauders (35-23) with the victory.

Co-Player of the Day Littrell (W, 9-8) pitched a gem, limiting his opponents to four hits and a base-on-balls through eight. The southpaw struck out five with nine ground- and six fly-ball outs. Josh Lucas faced the minimum in the ninth.

Carson Kelly went 3-for-4 for the third time in his last five games, doubling twice with two RBI. Luke Voit, the only other Beach Bird with more than one hit, singled and doubled in four at bats. Danny Diekroeger scored three times, going 1-for-2 with a triple, two walks and one driven in.

Wednesday’s game: Off

Peoria 7 at Cedar Rapids 4

The Chiefs rebounded from Monday’s 23-3 drubbing to down the Kernels 7-4, evening the series at one game each. With a wild card spot likely, second-place Peoria (36-21) moved to within two games of Kane County with 13 to go, the last three at the first-place Cougars.

Peoria’s 17-hit attack was spearheaded by reigning Midwest League Player of the Week Nick Thompson. Our co-Player of the Day was a perfect 5-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI. Darren Seferina was right behind Thompson, going 4-for-5 with a triple and run driven in.

Paul DeJong and Steve Bean both went 2-for-5, DeJong scoring once with a stolen base and Bean adding a double with two runs scored. Kenny Peoples-Walls singled twice in four at bats, touched home once and knocked in three.

Matt Pearce evened his record to 10-10 with a strong effort, allowing two runs on six hits over seven. Nick Frey was charged with two tallies on two hits while retiring one batter. Kyle Grana recorded the last five outs, three on strikeouts, for his 21st save.

Wednesday’s game: vs. fourth-place Cedar Rapids (31-26), 6:35 pm CT, Ian McKinney (2-0, 0.87)

State College 1 at Williamsport 2

A two-run bomb in the first set up State College (33-29) for a 2-1 defeat. The Spikes will try to salvage the series’ finale on Wednesday.

Jacob Evans (L, 3-2) took the tough loss despite holding the Crosscutters to six hits and a walk over seven. He fanned five and only allowed one baserunner to reach scoring position. Luke Harrison struck out two in a one-two-three eighth.

State College outhit Williamsport seven to six but were a dismal one-for-seven with runners in scoring position, leaving seven aboard. Jhohan Acevedo and Casey Grayson each singled and doubled in four at bats, Acevedo scoring the lone run with Grayson driving him in. Orlando Olivera went 2-for-4 out of the five hole but the six through nine bats went a collective 0-for-13.

Wednesday’s game: at Williamsport (41-22), 7:05 pm ET, Jorge Rodriguez (4-3, 3.16)

Johnson City 4 at Danville 8

Reeling Johnson City (26-32) was swept out of Danville, falling 8-4 in the series finale. The Cardinals are in last place, three games from elimination.

Brennan Leitao (L, 0-2) could not finish the fourth, surrendering seven runs, six earned, on 12 hits and a free pass in 3 2/3. Ismael Brito tossed 1 1/3 scoreless, following by a two-inning stint by Steven Farinaro, who issued two free passes. Juan Caballero was touched for a run on two hits in the eighth.

Allen Staton accumulated half of his team’s hits, going 3-for-4, touching home once and driving one in. A double by Chris Chinea was the only hit to go for extras and Chinea’s only hit in four at bats. He scored once.

Wednesday’s game: vs. Elizabethton (31-28), 7:00 pm ET, Ryan Helsley (1-0, 1.87)

GCL Cardinals 4 vs. GCL Mets 3 (11)

The Gulf Birds’ push towards postseason play was given a boost with a 4-3 win in 11 over the GCL Mets (26-30). The victory, combined with a loss by the GCL Marlins, gives the GCL Cardinals (32-24) a one-game advantage with four games remaining. The season ends with a two-game series versus the Fish.

The home team trailed 3-0 through six, all three tallies off David Oca, who permitted three hits and two walks, one intentional, over seven. The bats got Oca off the hook, scoring two in the seventh via a two-out triple by Jonathan Rivera that scored Bryce Denton (walk) and Joshua Lopez (double). Denton opened the ninth with his second triple of 2015 and sent the game into extras when he scored on Rivera’s groundout.

In the meantime, Ronald Medrano tossed two scoreless before surrendering a two-out double. The 19-year-old issued an intentional free pass before handing the ball off to Gerwuins Velazco. Velazco retired four of five batters faced, walking one, for his second win in as many decisions.

With Medrano and Velazco holding down the Mets, the Gulf Cards threatened in the 10th but the inning ended with Nick Plummer being nailed at the plate. They broke through in the next frame when Lopez singled, his second hit in five at bats, moved to second via a base-on-balls to Rivera and scored the walk off on Andrew Brodbeck’s double.

The bats generated 10 hits, including two doubles and two triples. The six through nine hitters did all of the damage: Denton, Lopez, Rivera and Brodbeck with two hits each – in four, five, four and five at bats, respectively.

Wednesday’s game: vs. GCL Nationals (23-33), 12:00 pm ET, Junior Fernandez (3-2, 4.40)

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