Double-A Birds More than "Double-up" Arkansas

Gary Campbell reports from Springfield, Missouri on the results of Wednesday's Texas League contest between the home Cardinals and the visiting Arkansas Travelers. Among the standouts were relief pitcher Dennis Dove and outfielder Amaury Marti.

After winning on Tuesday night at Hammons Field to stop a five game skid, it was time for the Springfield Cardinals' bats to come to life. Boy, did they ever, scoring eleven runs on thirteen base hits against the Arkansas Travelers on Wednesday. When the dust settled, the line score looked more like a college line score, rather than a night in the Texas League.

For one of the few times this season, the Cards were the king of the long ball, hitting three home runs, two of which came with two runners on base. Amaury Marti hit his third round-tripper in his past four starts. Gabe Johnson and Jarrett Hoffpauir also provided the long ball power for the Cardinals. It was the fourth and fifth home runs respectively for the duo.

Springfield has now won two straight, after a five-game skid. Chris Lambert, who was the subject of a bobble head promotion on Sunday, got the start. Lambert bobbed and weaved thru the Travs' order, allowing four runs on five hits. It was Lambert's club-leading ninth win of the campaign. Former St. Louis Cardinal Carmen Cali came on in relief of Lambert, and pitched three solid innings, allowing just one earned run and notching some K's on the fans' scorecards.

The most impressive performance Wednesday night game might have come in the final half inning. New call-up Dennis Dove, who was called up to Double-A Springfield earlier in the day from Palm Beach, came on to pitch the ninth. From my perch just above the Springfield bullpen, I had seen a lot of game action and very little bullpen work aside from Cali warming up prior to relieving Lambert in the middle innings.

However, I now see what the buzz has been with this recent addition to the Springfield roster. Actually, after hearing the pop of the catcher's glove, maybe the right way to phrase that would have been "I now HEAR what the buzz has been". Dove allowed a shattered bat single for the only hit in his Springfield debut, striking out one, and ending the game on two fly-outs.

The Cardinals wrap-up the first half of their ten-game home stand, looking for a series win against the Arkansas Travelers. The teams have spilt the first four games in the series, with Springfield taking the last two (5-2 Tuesday, 11-5 Wednesday). Blake Hawksworth (1-2) gets the starting nod Thursday night for Springfield. Arkansas counters with Chris Hunter (2-9).

Springfield (14-19) now trails North Division leading Wichita (18-15) by four games, while Arkansas (16-17) falls to two full games back of the Wranglers. The Tulsa Drillers (14-18) are three and a half back of the lead, and a half-game ahead of Springfield.

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