Starting pitcher Oscar Alvarez (5-2), filling in for Chris Lambert who had just returned from the Futures All Star Game in Detroit on Sunday, threw five scoreless innings at Whataburger Field to set-up a 6-3 win for the Cards. It was Alvarez's first start since May 31.
The game was scoreless until the fifth inning. That was when Haerther made his presence known in southern Texas. Aaron Herr, who had three hits Tuesday night, smacked a triple to center field to lead off the inning. Haether then hit the two-run homer off Corpus Christi starter Jamie Merchant (1-1) to make it 2-0, Cards. The home-run was Haerther's first since injuring his knee on June 15, at Hammons Field, when he slid into second base, hyper-extending his left leg and jamming his knee into the base.
Haerther did it again in the sixth, after Tyler Minges and Pete Zoccollilo reached base with two outs. Aaron Herr was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Haerther made it 5-0 when he hit his bases-clearing double, giving him a season best five RBI.
Alvarez was replaced in the sixth by Chris Mears who would give up a run to the Hooks by allowing Mark Saccomanno to score on a stolen base and an error, making it 5-1. But, Tyler Minges would get that run back in the seventh by scoring Papo Bolivar on a sacrifice fly, making it 6-1.
However, the Hooks didn't just roll-over and gasp for breath on the field-by-the-sea. Instead, they turned the game into a nail-biter when, after Anthony Rawson pitched two perfect innings of relief in the seventh and eighth, Anthony Ferrari allowed a lead-off single in the ninth to Mike Rodriguez and a two-run homer to Charlton Jimerson, to make it 6-3. Ferrari was allowed to remain in the game and walked Eric Riggs. Ferrari was done for the night at that point and Cory Doyne was summoned from the bullpen. Doyne once again did his thing by striking out pinch-hitter Carlos Rodriquez and getting Josh Anderson to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. Doyne picked up his seventh save of the year and Alvarez tallied the win, allowing seven hits over five innings and a season-high seven strike outs.
The Cardinals remain one game back of the Wichita Wranglers, who beat the Midland RockHounds 12-3 Tuesday night, in the Texas League East. The Springfield team returns to .500 (9-9) for the second half of the season.
The Cards and the Hooks will once again meet tonight in the third game of the four-game series (the Hooks took the first game 1-0 on Monday) at Whataburger Field. Randy Leek (9-4) will try to become the Texas League's first 10-game winner of the season as he squares off against Corpus Christi's Tim McClaskey (5-6). Game time is 7:05 p.m. and can be heard live on KWTO JOCK 98.7 or online at www.springfieldcardinals.com.
The Cardinals return home on Tuesday, July 19, to open a nine-game home stand. Tickets to all nine games are available by calling (417) 8632143 or online at www.springfieldcardinals.com.