Sandy Alcantara (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Highlights of Thursday’s games across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system

The Cardinals minor league system was 2-2 on Thursday. Our Player of the Day is Peoria right-hander Sandy Alcantara (6 innings, 0 runs, 8 strikeouts).

Results for games played Thursday, April 21st.

Memphis Redbirds 6, Oklahoma City Dodgers 5

The Redbirds (7-6) held off a late Dodgers (7-7) rally during the eighth inning in the third game of the four-game series at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in downtown Oklahoma City. The win keeps Memphis one game behind Round Rock for first place in the Pacific Coast League Southern Division.

The Redbirds jumped on veteran Dodgers starter Jeremy Kehrt early, plating five runs in the first four innings. The barrage was led by leadoff hitter Charlie Tilson (.286 BA) who went 3-for-5 including a triple while and a bunt single. His third hit ended up with Tilson getting caught trying to extend the line drive into a double against none other than former Redbird, James Ramsey, and coming up short.

Jacob Wilson (.303 BA) went 1-for-3 from the two hole and Greg Garcia, back from his early season stint in St. Louis, went 1-for-3, batting third and playing shortstop. Nick Martini got a rare start over starting right fielder Carlos Peguero and didn’t disappoint. Martini went 1-for-2 with a walk, a sacrifice fly, and a stolen base.

Pitching for Memphis was Thomas Lee, who had a fine day given his early season struggles. The 26 year-old went five innings, giving up two runs, but striking out five in the process. He labored a bit, taking 88 pitches to get through the five innings.

Justin Wright came on next, striking out two in one inning of work. Wright was followed by Dean Kiekhefer who was able to hold the Dodger for an inning and a third. Oddly, Memphis manager Mike Shildt pulled the left-handed Kiekhefer in the middle of the eighth for right-hander Heath Wyatt against a right-handed batter. Wyatt promptly walked the Dodgers shortstop, Brandon Hicks, and gave up a single to another Dodger.

Shildt had seen enough and went to star prospect Sam Tuivailala. The decision didn’t pay off as Tuivailala proceeded to give up a pair of doubles plating three (one of which was attributed to him), before settling down in the final frame. In the end, Tuivailala got the save on three strikeouts. 

Friday’s game: at Oklahoma City, Arturo Reyes (0-1, 1.80 ERA) 7:05 CT

Springfield Cardinals 4 at Arkansas Travelers 9

Springfield (7-6, first place in the Texas League North) opened up a four-game set in North Little Rock, Arkansas on Thursday, falling to the Travelers, 9-4. 

Springfield designated hitter Chris Jacobs hit a home run in the third inning, his second of the season. Right fielder David Washington (.405 BA) had a big day, going 2-for-2 with 2 walks. Third baseman Paul DeJong (.213 BA) went 2-for-4 with a triple. DeJong’s triple followed a double by Collin Radack, putting the Cardinals behind the Travelers by just a run heading into the bottom of the sixth, before Arkansas blew it open in the bottom half of the inning.

Springfield handed the ball to Daniel Poncedeleon on the evening and he was uncharacteristically wild, walking three and hitting two batters before getting pulled in the bottom of the second inning. It was the shortest outing of Poncedeleon’s career, lasting just 1-2/3 innings.

Right-handed reliever Chris Thomas responded, going 2-1/3 innings giving up a run, but striking out two.  In the sixth, the Cardinals called on Josh Lucas, but he did not perform well, allowing five runs over two innings. John Brebbia came on for the final two frames, yielding one run, but striking out four Arkansas hitters.

Friday’s game: at Arkansas, Andrew Morales (2-0, 4.50 ERA) 7:10 CT

Palm Beach Cardinals 2, Bradenton Marauders 4

Palm Beach lost the rubber match on Thursday, falling to Bradenton 4-2 at home. The Cardinals fell to 9-6 on the season, slipping into a first place tie with the St. Lucie Mets in the Florida State League Southern Division.

On the mound for the Cardinals was right-hander Blake McKnight. McKnight scattered eight hits over six innings allowing two runs. Lanky righty Nick Frey pitched the final three innings, conceding the game in the ninth when he allowed two runs to score.

The Palm Beach offense was no match for Pirates prospect Austin Coley. Among the highlights was a pair of doubles, one by catcher Brian O’Keefe and another by second baseman Darren Seferina.

Friday’s game: at Jupiter, Jacob Evans (1-0, 0.71 ERA) 5:30 CT

Peoria Chiefs 3, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 0

The Chiefs (7-7) opened up a four-game set at home with the Timber Rattlers out of Appleton, Wisconsin.

Our Player of the Day is the starting pitcher for Peoria, Sandy Alcantara. Alcantara worked six innings of shutout ball, striking out eight, but allowing four hits and five walks, plus a hit-by-pitch. Alcantara threw 100 pitches. He was followed by Steven Gallardo, who added three more innings of shutout ball, striking out four and picking up his first save of his career.

The Chiefs offense put three runs on the board in the bottom of the first, which was all the scoring needed. Four straight singles by the middle of the order and a couple of errors led to the three runs. The standout at the plate was Magneuris Sierra, who went 2-for-4. Edmundo Sosa tacked on a 1-for-3 evening with a walk, but also committed his fifth error of the season.

Friday’s game: vs. Wisconsin, Ryan Helsley (0-1, 3.18 ERA) 6:30 CT

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