April 20, 2005 - The Springfield Cardinals used a six-run first inning to defeat the Wichita Wranglers, winning by a score of 7-4 on Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita.
Kevin Estrada capped the six-run frame with a three-run double, as the Cards jumped on Wichita starter Devon Lowery. Lowery (0-3) only retired two batters in the first inning, allowing the first four hitters to reach safely. With the bases loaded, Tyler Minges ripped a Lowery pitch into left field for a two-run single, putting the Cards ahead to stay at 2-0. Andy Schutzenhofer's first of two hits, a single to right, scored Travis Hanson from third, making it 3-0. After Matt DeMarco walked to load the bases, Estrada pulled a Lowery offering into the gap for his first three RBI's of the season and a 6-0 lead.
Springfield tacked on another run in the third to take a 7-0 lead against Wichita reliever Colt Griffin. Schutzenhofer and DeMarco opened the inning with consecutive hits. With runners at the corners and no outs, Estrada hit a hard grounder to second baseman Donnie Murphy. The Wranglers turned the double play, but Schutzenhofer scored from third with the Cards seventh run.
That would be more than enough for Oscar Alvarez, who finally picked up his first win, after two tough-luck starts. Alvarez had suffered a loss and a no-decision in his first two starts, after allowing just one earned run in his first 12 innings. Alvarez (1-1) kept Wichita off the board until the bottom of the seventh, when Mike Aviles launched a three-run homer to left-center field, his first of the year.
After Alvarez walked Donnie Murphy, reliever Andy Cavazos would enter the game with one out in the seventh and the score 7-3. Cavazos would finish off the frame by striking out Brennan King swinging, with two Wranglers aboard.
Springfield's Tony Rawson set Wichita down in order in the eighth, but opened the ninth with a walk to Wichita''s Matt Tupman. Rawson retired the next two hitters, before allowing a run-scoring double to Justin Huber, making it 7-4. Josh Kinney was summoned out of the Cards bullpen, and with the tying run on-deck, got Josh Pressley to ground out to Estrada at short to end the game. For Kinney, it's his third save in the series and his fifth of the year, tops in the Texas League.
Offensively, Minges, Schutzenhofer, DeMarco and Estrada all had two hits each to lead Springfield's ten-hit attack.
The Cardinals improve their road record to 3-5 and overall go to 6-7. They try to make it four of five in Wichita on Thursday morning. Jordan Pals (0-2) throws for Springfield, while Wichita sends Thad Markray (0-1) to the mound. Game time from Wichita is a special start time of 11:00am. After the series finale, the Cards bus to Tulsa to open up a five-game series against the Drillers on Friday night.
The Cards return to Hammons Field on Thursday, April 28th to face the Corpus Christi Hooks. Great seats are still available by calling the Springfield Cardinals ticket office at (417) 863-2143.
Tickets for all regular season games are on sale now by calling the Springfield Cardinals ticket office at (417) 863-2143, or by visiting www.springfieldcardinals.com. All Cardinals games are broadcast live on JOCK 98.7 FM and online through the Cards website at www.springfieldcardinals.com.