Brennan Leitao (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

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

Memphis and Peoria earned the two system Friday wins behind hitting and pitching, respectively, with Brennan Leitao of Peoria our Player of the Day.

Results from games played Friday, May 6th.

Memphis 7 at Nashville 6

The Redbirds (11-14) got their road trip off on the right foot, holding on to take a 7-6 win at Nashville Friday evening. Out to a 6-0 lead in the second, Memphis saw the home club creep back to one run behind in the middle innings, but held the edge to the end.

Memphis had a season-high 13 hits, led by Jacob Wilson, who singled, doubled and launched a grand slam. Jonathan Rodriguez also went deep as part of a 3-for-4 night that included two RBI and slumping Anthony Garcia singled and doubled. Rehabbing Tommy Pham struck out as a pinch hitter.

Of the five runs charged to Redbirds starter Thomas Lee over 4 2/3 innings, only two were earned thanks to errors by middle infielders Greg Garcia and Dean Anna. Lefty Dean Kiekhefer picked up his first win of 2016 after 1 1/3 perfect frames of relief.

Nashville came back with a run against Miguel Socolovich in the seventh, but a standout throw from outfielder Nick Martini nailing a runner at second base ended the Sounds’ threat. Closer Sam Tuivailala stranded the potential tying run at third base in the ninth to seal the win and pick up his third save.

Saturday’s game:  at Nashville (12-16), 6:35 pm CT, J.C. Sulbaran (2-2, 4.18)


Springfield 3 at Northwest Arkansas 8

Springfield (15-13) dropped its second straight at Northwest Arkansas to end the four game series at two games apiece.

Red-hot third baseman Paul DeJong did his part, with two home runs, making his total five in his last six games, but the rest of the Cardinals offense struggled, managing just five hits among them. Anxious Springfield hitters drew just one walk and struck out 11 times.

Like in the Memphis contest, a six-spot in the second inning was the difference-maker, but this time, the opponent had the big outburst.

Starter Daniel Poncedeleon had his second consecutive rough start, though he did not get help from his defense and bullpen. A passed ball charged to Carson Kelly and an error by second baseman Breyvic Valera led to five of the Naturals’ six second-inning runs to be unearned. Poncedeleon was pulled with two out in the second, having yielded three hits and a walk with four runs in. Reliever Josh Lucas quickly served up a two-run double that brought in the fifth and sixth scores, charged to the starter.

Lucas stayed in to pitch two more innings, allowing another run, before Kurt Heyer took the final four frames on the mound, yielding the final NW Arkansas tally.

Saturday’s game:  at Tulsa (10-17), 7:05 pm CT, Trey Nielsen (2-2, 4.56)

Jupiter 3, Palm Beach 1

Though the Roger Dean Stadium tenants switched home and away designations from Thursday to Friday, the score was identical, as Miami’s A-Advanced club took a 3-1 win over the Cardinals. It was a 10:30 a.m. start on Education Day, with the stands filled with excited school children.

They had little to cheer about as the Beach Birds’ offense continues to sputter. It was Palm Beach’s sixth loss in a row, during which they managed just 12 runs in total. The 14-15 Cards fell under .500 for the first time this season.

Starter Ian McKinney was cruising through three, but escaped a couple of walks in the fourth. It unraveled in the fifth after two more free passes and a single loaded the bases with no out. After having thrown 74 pitches, 37 strikes and 37 balls, McKinney was pulled with Palm Beach holding onto a slim 1-0 lead.

Pedro Echemendia allowed an RBI single to tie the game, but otherwise escaped the jam.

The score remained deadlocked until reliever Silfredo Garcia gave up a long ball in the seventh. It was the eventual deciding run, making Garcia the losing pitcher. The Hammerheads scored an insurance run in the eighth against Kyle Grana after an Andrew Sohn error.

Palm Beach did not give up, loading the bases in the ninth, but Vaughn Bryan and Oscar Mercado were retired to end the game. The Cards stranded 10 on the day.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Jupiter (13-15), 5:30 pm ET, Jack Flaherty (0-2, 6.10)


Peoria 5, Dayton 0

The Chiefs (12-16) put together their second straight strong performance over the struggling Dragons, winning the three-game home series with one to go.

Starter Brennan Leitao was the big story, fanning 10 over eight scoreless innings on just 85 pitches. The 22-year-old right-hander yielded just one walk and five hits in his dominating performance, earning him our Player of the Day nod. Chandler Hawkins handled the ninth.

The Peoria offense scored in the second, fourth and sixth to slowly pull away. Catcher Jose Godoy singled, doubled and plated three while another catcher playing first base in Chris Chinea, also singled and doubled, drove in one and scored three times.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Dayton (6-23), 6:30 pm CT, Junior Fernandez (2-2, 2.77)

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Extended Spring Training Camp Report – 5/6/16. Learn what Lance Lynn, Dennis Martinez and Riley Drongesen have in common – plus all the news from camp in Jupiter, Florida.

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