Thursday: Midland 7, Springfield 2

John Brayfield's report on the Springfield Cardinals

They say everything is "big" in Texas--but the 7-2 loss suffered by the Springfield Cardinals, at the hands of the Midland RockHounds at Citibank Ballpark, was enormous. With only 16 games left to play on the season, the Cards watched the fleeting hope of winning three-in-a row fade Thursday night as they lost the first of a four-game road trip. Springfield, now 24-29, is 4.5 games back of Division-leading Arkansas in the East.

The first inning went scoreless but the second inning was a foreteller of things to come as Kevin Melillo led off the inning with a single and, with two outs, scored on a Mark Kiger single.

The Cardinals struck back in the third as Papo Bolivar doubled and later scored on a Travis Hanson RBI single, tying the game at 1-1, giving Hanson 88 RBI which still tops the Texas League.

Jordan Pals, Cardinals' starter, gave up five consecutive hits in the fourth as the Oakland A's Double-A franchise took a 5-1 lead. Melillo hlt a two-run double making it 3-1, and Jeremy Brown hit a two-run homer, his 17th of the year, to make it 5-1.

It was not Pals' night as the tall right-hander worked just four innings, surrendering six runs on 10 hits and walking five on the night. Pals (5-11) walked the first two batters in the fifth inning and was replaced on the mound by Josh Axelson, who took over with runners on first and second. Axelson retired the first two batters, but then gave up a home run to Steve Stanley, making it 6-1. Axelson pitched three innings, allowing one unearned run.

Alan Benes followed Axelson with a 1-2-3 eighth inning and gave the Cards a slight ray of hope for the chance of a rally. But, the only run the Cards could manufacture was a lone run scored by Tyler Minges after he and Aaron Herr hit back-to-back doubles to make it 7-2. Drew Dickinson (6-8) got the win striking out a season high six batters, allowing one run on four hits over 6.2 innings.

In game two of the series on Friday, Springfield will send Randy Leek (12-6), who was named Texas League pitcher of the week for his complete-game shutout of Frisco at Hammons Field last week, to the hill to face Midland's Jeff Lynch (7-6). Game time is 7 p.m. The game can be heard live on KWTO JOCK 98.7 FM or online at

The Cardinals return home Tuesday, August 23, to face the Tulsa Drillers in a four-game series. Tickets are available at the Hammons Field Ticket Office, by calling (417) 863-2143 or online at

You can write John Brayfield at

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