Starlin Balbuena (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Highlights of Friday’s games across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system and a look ahead to Saturday’s action.

In an odd Friday across the Cardinals system, Memphis’ game was postponed due to travel issues and two games were suspended - Palm Beach’s by rain and Peoria’s by the clock. The Chiefs and West Michigan played 15 innings until the game was called a 9-9 tie. Our Player of the Day is GCL third baseman Starlin Balbuena, who launched a grand slam to set the stage for a Cardinals win.

Results for games played Friday, July 22.


Memphis vs. Iowa

This game was postponed due to travel issues with the Redbirds.  It will be played as Game 2 of a doubleheader on Saturday.

Saturday’s games:  vs. Iowa, Deck McGuire (6-8, 5.26) Game 1 of a doubleheader at 5:05 CT.

                                  vs. Iowa, Mike Mayers (3-3, 2.94) Game 2 of a doubleheader following Game 1.


Springfield 1 at NW Arkansas 4

Starter John Walter suffered his third loss of the season, pitching 4 1/3 innings and giving up four runs on seven hits.  Chris Perry, Kevin Herget, and Pedro Echemendia provided a combined 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

The Cardinals offense couldn’t get anything going against Naturals pitching.  Luke Voit drove in the only run on a sixth inning single and was 2-for-4 on the night.  Bruce Caldwell, Luis Cruz, and Andrew Sohn each singled.

The Cardinals have a second half record of 10-18.

Saturday’s game:   at NW Arkansas, Luke Weaver (4-3, 1.31) 6:05 CT.


Palm Beach at Tampa

This game was suspended due to rain and will be completed on Saturday prior to the start of the regularly scheduled game.  The game was stopped with the Cardinals at bat in the top half of the third inning, two outs and two runners on and Tampa leading 3-0. All three runs were charged to Jacob Evans, who was pulled after just four outs.

In an interesting note, new arrival Edmundo Sosa started at shortstop with Oscar Mercado making his debut in center field.

Saturday’s game:  at Tampa, Matt Pearce (8-6, 2.40), 6:00 ET.


Peoria 9 at West Michigan 9 (15 innings)

Due to curfew, this game was called after 15 innings with the game tied. It is officially a tie, the third in Chiefs history. At 6:01, the game was the longest in franchise history and the Chiefs set a team record with 26 hits while the teams combined for a Midwest League record 48 hits.

There was something for everyone.

Six pitchers went to the mound for the Chiefs, starting with Derian Gonzalez, who pitched three innings, giving up one unearned run on four hits.  Jorge Rodriguez followed with three innings, two runs allowed.  Nick Frey also pitched three innings, yielding four runs, three earned.  Steven De La Cruz surrendered two runs in one inning, as he and Frey picked up blown saves.  Luke Harrison pitched four scoreless innings and catcher Jose Godoy pitched a scoreless 15th.

Magneuris Sierra was 4-for-9 with two RBI.  Chris Chinea was 4-for-9 with two runs driven in, but also committed two errors.  The two tied the Chiefs team record with nine at-bats in one game.

Newcomer Jose Martinez was 5-for-8 and plated one.  Eliezer Alvarez was 2-for-2, with his replacement at 2B Dylan Tice going 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.  Alvarez was hit by a pitch in the back of the head in the first inning, but stayed in until the fifth. Leobaldo Pina was 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.  R.J. Dennard was 2- for-7 with an RBI.

Of the Chiefs 26 hits, none were home runs.  Sierra, Alvarez, and Chinea doubled; Pina tripled.  The defense committed five errors and 11 in the three-game series, Sierra was caught stealing for the 12th time, and Craig Aikin had an outfield assist and a miscue.

Saturday’s game:  at South Bend, Dailyn Martinez (2-2, 5.68) 6:05 CT.


State College 10, Auburn 8

The Spikes put nine runs on the board in the first two innings, but the Doubledays fought back to make it close.   The Spikes added another run in the eighth and held on for the win.

A two run home run off the bat of Andy Young was the offensive highlight and the only extra base hit.  Elier Rodriguez was 2-for-4 and plated three.  Jeremy Martinez was 2-for-4 with one RBI.  Riley Drongesen drove in two runs on a first inning single.

Spikes starter Steven Farinaro pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on ten hits.  Bob Wheatley added 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits to earn the win, his second.  Jonathan Escudero pitched a scoreless inning, followed by Harley Holt, who tossed 1 1/3 innings and surrendered four runs, three earned.  Brady Bowen got the last two outs in the ninth to earn his third save.

State College is now 23-11 on the season and in first place in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Auburn, Ronnie Williams (4-1, 2.45) 6:05 CT.


Johnson City 8 at Elizabethton 12

There were plenty of runs scored in Elizabethton on Friday night, but not enough for the Cardinals to secure a victory.  It was a tough night on the mound for starter Ramon Santos, who pitched three innings and gave up seven runs, three earned, on eight hits, including a two run home run.  Three errors by the Cardinals defense didn’t help matters.  Yeison Medina surrendered four more runs in his two innings pitched.  Estarlin Arias hurled the remaining three innings, allowing one additional score.  Medina took the loss.

The offense had 12 hits, three for extra bases.  Jonathan Rivera hit a bases clearing double in the first inning.  Andrew Knizner was 2-for-4, with a ground rule double and an RBI single.  J.R. Davis was 2-for-4 with a double.  Allen Cordoba was 2-for-4, Caleb Lopes was 3-for-5.

The Cardinals are 15-12 on the season.

Saturday’s game:  at Elizabethton, Daniel Castano (0-1, 3.07) 5:00 CT.


GCL Cardinals 10 at GCL Nationals 0

A six man pitching crew kept the GCL Nationals scoreless for nine, as the Cardinals’ offense smashed their way to a blowout win on Friday.

Starter Anthony Ciavarella tossed four scoreless, two hit innings, fanning seven and walking only one.  First round draft pick Dakota Hudson followed with a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out three to earn his first professional win.  In his professional debut, third round pick Zac Gallen hurled a no hit scoreless inning with two strikeouts.  Will Changarotty, rehabber Jery Then, and Robbie Gordon combined for the final scoreless three frames.

Third sacker Starlin Balbuena was the star run producer, blasting a first inning grand slam to begin the scoring frenzy.  Catcher Dennis Ortega was a perfect 4-for-4, driving in one run.  Dylan Carlson was 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.  Hunter Newman plated one and scored two, going 2-for-4 with two doubles.

The Cardinals have a record of 13-11.

Saturday’s game:  Off.


DSL Cardinals 11 at DSL Braves 5

Recently signed international free agent Jonatan Machado made his professional debut, hitting 2-for-6 in the leadoff spot and scoring one run in this Friday victory over the Braves.  Leandro Cedeno was 3-for-4 with a triple, four RBI and two runs scored.  Wadye Ynfante was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.  Julio Rodriguez plated one and was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and Oscar Cotes was 2-for-5 with a double and a run driven in.  Also plating runs were Brian Sanchez, Elehruris Montero, and Esequeil Delgado.

Starter Angel Rondon earned his first win with a five inning outing, giving up one run on six hits and striking out eight.  Wilfredo Pereira followed with two innings of relief, allowing three runs, one earned, on five hits.  Jesus Garcia and Cristhian Lugo combined for the remaining two innings; Garcia surrendered one run on three hits and Lugo got the final out of the ninth.

The Cardinals have a record of 28-13 and are 1.5 games ahead in the DSL San Pedro Division.

Saturday’s game:  vs. DSL Braves, TBA 9:30 a.m. CT.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Prospect Interview: State College Shortstop Tommy Edman

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