After a day off Sunday, following a 8-4 win against the Arkansas Travelers that included Rick Ankiel's first home run of the year, (if a long-bus ride from Little Rock to Frisco Texas can be called a day off) the Cardinals took the field at Dr. Pepper / 7-UP Ballpark in Frisco. They grabbed an early 1-0 lead as they scored a run in the first inning when Shaun Boyd picked up his first of two doubles and drove in Papo Bolivar.
The Cards extended their lead to 2-0 in the third as Frisco starter A.J. Murray gave up a double to Tyler Minges who was later driven home on an RBI single by Travis Hanson. But, that would be the last of the runs scored by the Cards on the night. Springfield starter Jordan Pals (5-1) ran into trouble early in the third inning and Frisco's Mike Neckeas took Pals deep to make it 2-1.
Pals walked the next two of three batters, and then committed his first balk of the year--with runners at first and third, scoring the tying run to make it 2-2. Things continued to go bad for Pals as an error allowed Joaquin Arias to reach first base and, to add injury to insult, the RoughRiders pulled-off their first double-steal of the year as Arias went to second and Cameron Caughlan stole home to give Frisco a 3-2 lead. Pals gave up an unearned run in the fifth as Ruddy Yan doubled and then scored on a throwing error by Brendan Ryan, making it 4-2.
Josh Axelson replaced Pals and gave up three runs in the sixth to make it 7-2.
Springfield is now 4-7 on the current road trip with two more games to play at Frisco before returning to Hammons Field on Thursday night. The Cards are 6.5 games behind the Texas League East Division leading Arkansas Travelers.
The good news? Kevin Ool and Alan Benes combined to work 2.1 innings of scorless relief from the Cardinals' bullpen. Kevin Estrada had his second straight three-hit game, going 3-4 with a stolen base, his team leading 17th. Starting pitcher Randy Leek was called up to Triple-A Memphis and is expected to make his first Triple-A appearance on Tuesday night pitching for the Redbirds against the Colorado Springs SkySox. Leek leads the Texas League in innings pitched with 151.1
And there has been a bit of good news in the form of nostalgia on the field lately. It's nothing short of a treat for "old" St. Louis Cardinal fans to listen to a game that features Herr on second, Pagnozzi behind the plate, and Benes on the mound. It rarely gets any better than that.
Tonight (Tuesday) the Cardinals will send Chris Lambert (2-4) to face Frisco's Thomas Diamond (4-2). Game time from Frisco will be 7 p.m. and the game can be heard live on KWTO JOCK 98.7 or online at www.springfieldcardinals.com.