Such was the case Wednesday night at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi as the Springfield Cardinals faced the Hooks in a game that would mean a 10th game win for Springfield starter Randy Leek. The first 10-game win in the Texas League this season.
Leek didn't just watch the game from the mound or the dugout while waiting on his fellow teammates to bring him the win. He approached the plate like a slugger and it paid off for him--and the team.
In the sixth inning, with Corpus Christi and the Cardinals tied at 1-1, and one out, Leek hit an infield single that would lead to a three-run rally that would put Springfield in a lead from which they would never look back.
Following Leek, Kevin Estrada, who hit a solo home run in the fourth inning (his fifth of the season), would connect for a double to left field. Papo Bolivar hit a short fly ball for the second out and, with men at second and third, Tyler Minges hit a three run blast (his 15th homer of the year) to extend the Cardinals lead to 4-1.
The Cardinal relief pitchers struggled in the eighth after Chris Mears, who allowed two singles with only one out, was replaced by Anthony Ferrari who tossed up a single to Mike Rodriquez to load the bases. Ferrari continued to struggle as he walked Eric Riggs, forcing in a run to make it 4-2. Jeremy Cook came out of the bullpen to pull the inning together and managed to get pinch-hitter Humberto Quintero to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Cory Doyne got his eighth save of the year after walking the first two batters he faced in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Dax Norris attempted to move the runners to second and third on a bunt, but Doyne threw out the lead runner at third for the first out. The second out came when Doyne got Hector Gimenez to fly out to left field. Doyne got the third and final out of the game unassisted when he snagged a bat-breaking line drive back to the mound.
Leek, who got the win, now has the best record in all of Minor League Baseball with 129.1 innings pitched and leads the Texas League with a 10-4 record.
The Springfield Cardinals, who find themselves in a three-way tie for first in the Texas League East Division, with Tulsa and Wichita, after last night's win, are now 10-9 in the second half and 45-44 over-all.
Rodriquez joined the Hooks on July 11 after starting the season at Round Rock, in the Pacific Coast League, and making nine starts for the Astros. Rodriquez was 4-4 at Houston and 4-2 with Round Rock in eight starts.
The Cards return to Hammons Field July 19 when they face the Wichita Wranglers. Tickets for the upcoming home-stand are available by calling (417) 863-2143 or on-line at www.springfieldcardinals.com. The game can be heard live on KWTO JOCK 98.7 FM or on-line at www.springfieldcardinals.com.