The Springfield Cardinals Report

Ankiel and Benes return

The Springfield Cardinals blew a chance to gain a full game on the Texas League East Division leading Arkansas Travelers, losing Tuesday night's game to the Travs, 9-1. The Cardinals are now 16-22 and 5.5 games behind Arkansas.

Arkansas held Springfield to a single run in the opening game of a five-game series at Ray Winder Field in Little Rock.

The only RBI came from Rick Ankiel, who joined the team just before game time, as he hit a single in the fifth to drive in Brendan Ryan from first. It was Ankiel's second hit in a Springfield Cardinal uniform and his first RBI. Ankiel had been with the Midwest League's Swing of the Quad Cities for the past three months. Ankiel played six games for Springfield earlier in the season. In 51 games with the Swing, Ankiel hit .270 with 11 home runs and 45 RBI. The former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher-turned-outfielder hit .050 and was 1-20 in six games for Springfield.

Another addition to the Springfield line-up made his debut in a Cardinal uniform Tuesday night. Alan Benes, a former first-round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1993, joined the Cards over the weekend and pitched part of an inning of relief.

Benes recorded no outs as he gave up a solo home run to Kendry Morales to open the eighth inning, making it 8-1, and allowed back-to-back hits, including a run-scoring double by Mike Eylward, to give the Travelers their final score of the game.

Kevin Ool came out of the Cardinal bullpen, and with Eylward at second, retired all three men he faced.

Arkansas hit three home runs in the game. Mike Napoli, league leader in homeruns, recorded his 21st of the year, giving the Travs an early first inning lead of 2-0. In the third inning, Erick Aybar hit a solo home run to right field to make it 3-0.

Ankiel's RBI made it 3-1 in the top of fifth, but Arkansas came back in the bottom of the inning to score two more runs as Erick Aybar picked up a sacrifice fly followed by an RBI producing single by Howie Kendrick, making it 5-1.

Springfield starter Jordan Pals was pulled from the mound in the seventh and replaced by Benes. With two men on base, Kendrick again doubled, driving in two more runs to make it 7-1. Pals allowed six runs in 6.1 innings, of which four were earned.

Tonight (Wednesday) the Cards will face the Travelers again sending Randy Leek (10-6) to the mound against Arkansas hurler Willie Collazo. Game time is 7:10 p.m. and can be heard live of Springfield's KWTO JOCK 98.7 or on line at

The Springfield Cardinals return to Springfield and Hammons Field on August 11 to face the Midland RockHounds and the Frisco RoughRiders in a seven-game home stand. Tickets to all seven games are available at the Hammons Field Ticket Office, by calling (417) 863-2143, or on line at

Write John Brayfield at

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