April 10, 2007 - Jordan Pals turned in the second straight outstanding performance by a starting pitcher on Sunday afternoon at Ray Winder Field. For the second straight game though, the offense had a hard time getting on track, and as a result, the Cards fell for a fourth straight game. The Arkansas Travelers held on for a 2-1 victory over the Cards, sending Springfield home to Hammons Field without a win in their first series of the year.
The Travs got an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. With two outs, Erick Aybar chopped a slow grounder down to third baseman Travis Hanson. Hanson picked up the slow chopper and fired the ball down the right field line allowing Aybar to reach third base. Aybar would come in to score on a Mike Napoli RBI double.
In the third, the Travs made it a 2-0 game, as Aybar singled with two outs, and scored on a Tommy Murphy single. Pals (0-1) would then settle down and flat-out dominate. He retired the next ten hitters he faced, working six total innings. He allowed just the two runs, one earned, on four hits.
The offense for the Cardinals, which was blanked on Saturday night, came to life in the sixth. Reid Gorecki picked up a one-out double off Travs starter Daniel Davidson (1-0) to get the rally started. Papo Bolivar would then ground a pitch up the middle that was cut off by second baseman Alberto Callaspo. Callaspo's throw was late, and got away from the first baseman Greg Porter, allowing Gorecki to score from third as the Cardinals made it a 2-1 game. With the tying run at first base, Hanson lined out to Porter at first for the second out. Bolivar was then picked off by reliever Matt Wilhite, ending the Cardinals' threat.
In the ninth, Arkansas closer Von Stertzbach retired the first two men he faced, then ran into some trouble. Gabe Johnson earned a four-pitch walk, then advanced to second on a single to left from Bo Robinson. Pinch hitter Andy Schutzenhofer came up for Kevin Estrada and lined out to Callaspo at second to end the game. For Stertzbach, he earned his third save of the four-game series.
The Cardinals have a day off on Monday, then return home for their regular season home opener on Tuesday, April 12th. Springfield sends lefty Randy Leek to the hill against Tulsa's Keith Ramsey at 7:10 on Tuesday night, in the first game of the five-game series. Tickets are still available by calling (417) 863-2143, or by visiting www.springfieldcardinals.com.
All Springfield Cardinals games are broadcast live on JOCK 98.7 FM as well as online at www.springfieldcardinals.com.