The Cardinals moved into a tie for first place on Sunday, June 11, when they beat the Arkansas Travelers 4-3, putting them over .500 for the first time this season and giving them their first share of first place this year.
The Cards were down to their last out before Sean Danielson gave them the lead against Arkansas reliever Chris Hunter (0-1). With the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning and two outs, Cards' left fielder Sean Danielson pulled a single on a 2-1 pitch to right field, scoring Mike Ferris and Tyler Greene to give Springfield a 4-3 lead. The finish couldn't have been more exciting, as Cards' right-fielder Joe Mather's throw nailed Cody Fuller at the plate for the game's final out.
The Springfield Cardinals won their third straight game on Monday night, downing the Arkansas Travelers by a score of 3-2. With the win, Springfield stayed in a first-place tie with the Tulsa Drillers, who edged Wichita 2-1. Cory Rauschenberger, Nick Webber and Chris Perez were outstanding on Monday evening, as the three combined to hold Arkansas to just two runs and five hits. Rauschenberger (5-4) carried a shutout into the seventh inning, but departed after giving up three straight one-out hits, as the Travelers cut the Cards' lead to 3-2. After Aaron Peel's two-run double made it a one-run game, Webber was summoned out of the bullpen. Not only did Webber strand the tying run at second by retiring the final two men in the seventh, he went on to work a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Chris Perez struck out the side in the ninth inning for his 16th save this year.
On Tuesday night, Springfield got its fourth win in a row when Tyler Greene's two-out solo homer in the eighth inning snapped a 6-6 tie, as the Springfield Cardinals edged the Arkansas Travelers by a score of 7-6. The victory gave Springfield a full-game lead over the Tulsa Drillers, who lost in Wichita, 7-3 on Tuesday afternoon. Garcia took a no-decision, allowing five runs on seven hits in just 4 2/3 innings. Arkansas starter Miguel Gonzalez also got a no-decision, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings.
On Wednesday, the Springfield Cardinals' Eric Haberer combined with three relievers on a five-hit shutout, as the Springfield Cardinals tied a franchise record with their fifth straight win, blanking the Wichita Wranglers by a score of 2-0. The victory kept the Cards alone in first place with a two-game lead over the Tulsa Drillers, who lost 3-2 to the Arkansas Travelers. Tyler Greene opened the third inning with a triple off the glove of center fielder Adam Greenberg. One out later, Greene scored from third on Sean Danielson's RBI groundout to short, giving Springfield a 1-0 lead. That run held up as the game's only run until the eighth, when Joe Mather gave the Cards some insurance with his league-leading 18th home run of the year. With two outs in the eighth inning, Wichita reliever Jarod Plummer was called upon to face Mather, who greeted Plummer with a solo home run to left field to give Springfield a 2-0 advantage.
Nick Webber, who got an inning-ending double play to end the seventh, gave up a two-out single to Geraldo Valentin in the eighth. Zack Zuercher came out of the Cards' bullpen and retired left-handed hitting Mike Stodolka for the final out of the eighth. Jason Motte worked a scoreless ninth, working around a one-out walk to give Springfield their third shutout of the year and Motte's third save of the year. Wichita starter Danny Christensen (1-6) endured the tough-luck loss, allowing just one run in seven innings of work.
Thursday's game was stopped with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, as heavy rain started to fall. After a mandatory thirty-minute rain delay, the game was called, giving Springfield an 11-2 win. Tyler Greene's three-run home run capped a four-run ninth inning, as Springfield put the finishing touches on a franchise-record winning streak of six consecutive victories. Kevin Ool (4-2) worked six innings in earning the victory, allowing two runs while scattering 12 hits. Ool benefited from three of the Cards' season-tying high, four double plays. Michael Cooper worked two scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Redbirds.
Since Springfield's magic number now stands at just two, the Cards look for their first-ever North Division title on Friday night in Wichita, as they would still need Tulsa to fall at home on Friday evening to Arkansas. Mitchell Boggs (5-3) will take the ball for Springfield, while Wichita will send Carlos Rosa (3-3) to the mound. Game time from Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita will be 7 p.m. on Friday night. The game can be heard live on JOCK 98.7 FM as well as online at www.springfieldcardinals.com.
In other news:
On Tuesday, the Texas League front office named a record eight Springfield Cardinals to the North Division All-Star team. The Texas League All-Star Game will be held at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi on Tuesday, June 26th. Joe Mather will start at first base; Colby Rasmus will start in centerfield, Bryan Anderson will be the starting catcher; and Juan Richardson will be the starting designated hitter. Infield and outfield reserves will be Jarrett Hoffpauir and Sean Danielson, respectively. Pitchers Chris Perez and Jaime Garcia will be representing Springfield from the bullpen.
Springfield Cardinals shortstop Tyler Greene went 2-for-5 Thursday, with a home run, a double, four RBI and two runs scored. Since hearing that no one was blocking the Cardinals' top draft pick, shortstop Peter Kozma's path to the Majors, Greene has responded by hitting .300 (9-for-30), with two home runs, five RBI, and seven runs scored.