The Cardinals made a number of moves on Tuesday (July 31), first of all sending closer Chris Perez to Triple-A Memphis. Perez leaves the Cards with 27 saves, tied for most in franchise history as well as the most in a single season. All 27 saves were consecutive, after blowing his first opportunity in his 2007 debut in Midland. Mark Worrell also had 27 saves in 2006. Cory Doyne, who has been recently called up to the big leagues by the Baltimore Orioles, is third on the all-time list with 25.
St. Louis Cardinals' reliever Tyler Johnson, a member of last year's World Series Championship team, joined Springfield and pitched at Hammons Field on Wednesday night as part of a Major League rehab assignment. Johnson, who has been on the DL for almost six weeks with a strained biceps tendon, was 1-1 with a 4.32 ERA in 37 relief appearances for St. Louis this year. Johnson went 2-4 with a 4.95 ERA in 56 relief appearances for the Cards in 2006. Johnson is the second Major League "rehabber" to join Springfield this year (Juan Encarnacion was first) and the fourth in team history, joining pitcher Cal Eldred and outfielder Larry Bigbie.
Wednesday, August 1
Johnson started the game on Wednesday night (August 1) against the Arkansas Travelers and issued a lead-of walk to Brad Coon, who later scored on a double-play ball off the bat of Freddy Sandoval, giving Arkansas a 1-0 lead. Johnson was taken off the hook in the bottom of the first though, as the Cards scored five times to take the lead for good. After Travs' starter Brok Butcher walked Sean Danielson, he gave up a two-run homer to Colby Rasmus, giving the Cards a 2-1 advantage. Juan Richardson and Cody Haerther (just back from the DL) followed with back-to-back singles, putting two on for Amaury Marti, who joined the club for the first time in 2007.
Marti, who spent part of 2006 in Springfield (.227 AVG, 6 HR, 13 RBIs, 40 G), has been playing for Minatitlan of the Mexican League during the 2007 season. His numbers were impressive in the Mexican League, batting .337 with 15 homers and 71 RBIs in 96 games. Marti joins pitcher Chris Russ, who played with Marti at Minatitlan earlier this season, along with pitcher Mike Sillman and Haerther as players to have joined Springfield in the last two days. This is the first time the Cards' roster has been at 24 since July 9th. In his first game for Springfield this year, Marti ripped a 1-1 pitch way over the left-field wall, giving Springfield a 5-1 lead.
Butcher got taken deep again in the second, as Colby Rasmus homered for the second time on the night, his second multi-homer game this year, giving Springfield a 6-1 lead. After Butcher (1-1) allowed the first two hitters to reach to open the fifth, he was removed in favor of David Austen, who promptly served up a home run to Haerther, his second in as many nights, to give Springfield a 9-1 lead.
Austen gave up two more runs in the fifth, as Mark Hamilton and Jose Martinez each picked up a run-scoring hit to make it 11-1. Cory Rauschenberger (8-7), who followed Tyler Johnson's one inning of work, threw four scoreless frames before getting into some trouble in the sixth. Arkansas battled back with two in the sixth and two more in the seventh, bringing an end to Rauschenberger's night. The right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits in his six innings of work, but still earned the win.
The Travs put some pressure on the Springfield bullpen, scoring twice in the eighth against Nick Webber to make it 11-7. A Cody Haerther RBI single in the bottom of the inning gave the Cards some insurance at 12-7. Haerther finished the night with three hits and four RBIs and has five hits and six RBIs in his first two games back from the disabled list.
Arkansas capped the scoring by getting a run in the ninth against Matt Scherer, but couldn't get any closer after Adam Morrissey's RBI double made it 12-8. Scherer got the final outs, popping up Sean Rodriguez to end the game.
Friday, July 27
In games earlier in the week, the Cards continued to mount a great offense that will hopefully propel them to a second-half season win. On Friday (July 27), The Springfield Cardinals came from behind to defeat the Wichita Wranglers, winning 9-8 in 11 innings at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, in Wichita.
Down by one with two outs in the ninth, Colby Rasmus tripled off the top of the right-field wall, missing a game-tying home run by just inches. With two outs and Rasmus representing the tying run at third, Juan Richardson hit a routine ground ball to shortstop Valentino Arce. Arce threw wildly to first base though, as the throw couldn't be handled by first baseman Kila Kaaihue, allowing Rasmus to score and tie the game at 8-8.
After three scoreless innings by reliever Zack Zuercher, the Cards struck for the game-winner in the top of the 11th. Colby Rasmus came up big again, driving the ball to the track in straight-away center field. Wichita center fielder Adam Greenberg couldn't come up with it, as the ball bounced on one hop over the wall, allowing Casey Rowlett to score the go-ahead run as the Cards took a 9-8 lead against Wichita reliever Gilbert de la Vara (2-2). Chris Perez recorded his 27th straight save, tying a Springfield single-season record, by working a 1-2-3 11th inning.
The game went back-and-forth all night, as each team blew multiple leads. Springfield took an early 2-0 lead against starter Greg Atencio, scoring a run in the second and one in the third. Cards' starter Adam Daniels got roughed up in the third, giving up six runs, as Wichita took a 6-2 advantage. Springfield reliever Nick Webber came on and held Wichita off the board, while the Cards chipped away, giving Springfield four scoreless frames in relief. Four sixth-inning runs gave Springfield a 7-6 lead, as Casey Rowlett capped the frame with a three-run double to put the Cards in front. Wichita rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh against reliever Kyle McClellan, taking an 8-7 lead. Zuercher (2-0) got the win by firing three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. Daniels allowed six runs, five earned, on five hits in just two-plus innings of work. Rasmus led the Cards ten-hit attack, going 3-for-6 with an RBI.
Saturday, July 28
Jorge Padilla's walk-off home run on Saturday night, gave the Wichita Wranglers an 8-7 win over the Cardinals at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita. After Springfield tied it with a run in the ninth inning, Padilla led off the bottom of the inning by sending Jason Motte's 1-1 pitch over the left-field light tower for his fifth homer of the year and fourth hit of the night.
For the second straight night, the Wichita Wranglers coughed up a two-out lead in the ninth inning. With Sean Danielson at first base and two outs, Juan Richardson popped up to shallow left field. Wichita shortstop Irving Falu appeared to catch the ball, but lost his balance and fell over, losing the ball out of his glove in the process. On the play, Danielson scored from first to tie the game at 7-7. Similar to Friday night's game, the two teams battled back and forth, as neither team could hold a lead.
Springfield jumped on Wichita starter Carlos Rosa for three runs in the second inning, as Casey Rowlett picked up a two-out bases-loaded triple, giving the Redbirds a 3-0 lead. Cards' starter Mitchell Boggs got touched for a run in the second and another in the third, as Mike Stodolka's solo home run in the third made it 3-2. Wichita got a three-run blast from Jeff Nettles, as the Wranglers took a 5-3 lead in the fifth against Boggs. Richardson came up with the big hit in the seventh, launching a three-run homer to left-center field, as Springfield took a 6-5 lead against eventual winner Jarod Plummer (5-5). Richardson finished the night with two hits and three RBIs, giving him a league-leading 72 on the year.
Kila Kaaihue's two-run single in the seventh inning against Matt Scherer put the Wichita Wranglers back up at 7-6. Motte (3-2) threw just three pitches, giving up the Padilla blast and suffering the loss. Boggs got a no-decision, giving up five runs on seven hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out a season-best eight men, walking three on the night.
Sunday, July 29
The Springfield Cardinals got blanked in a rain-shortened game on Sunday afternoon, losing their second straight game to the Wichita Wranglers by a score of 1-0 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita. The contest was stopped due to lightning with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Approximately 15 minutes later, heavy rain started to fall and the game was called less than 30 minutes later.
Adam Donachie's solo home run was the only run of the game, Springfield's final game of a six-game road trip in which they finished just 2-4. Springfield starter P.J. Walters looked good in just his second Double-A start, but still suffered the defeat. Walters got in a first inning jam, loading the bases with one out. Looking to take the early lead, Wichita's Kila Kaaihue lifted a fly ball to right field. After making the catch for out number two, Cards' right-fielder Sean Danielson threw out Adam Greenberg at the plate to keep the game scoreless. Donachie's seventh homer of the year and second of the series, a solo shot to left field, put the Wranglers up 1-0 in the second.
Walters (0-2) settled down, firing a total of 5 2/3 innings, while allowing just one run on two hits. The right-hander struck out four batters while walking three, prior to the game being halted. The rain-shortened game means Walters is credited with a complete game, becoming just the second Cards' pitcher this year to record a complete game.
Wichita starter Danny Christensen (3-11) was impressive over six shut-out innings, holding the Cards to just three hits. Leading 1-0, Christensen allowed a bunt single to Danielson to open the sixth. After stealing second base, Danielson tried to score on Juan Lucena's single to center field. Wichita center fielder Adam Greenberg's throw to the plate was just in time to get Danielson, as the Cards were denied the tying run. Springfield's only other hit was Mark Shorey's two-out single in the fifth, breaking up Christensen's no-hit bid.
Tuesday, July 31
After an off-day on Monday, the Cardinals returned to Hammons Field on Tuesday, July 31st, as they took on the second-place Arkansas Travelers in a three-game home stand and got back in the win column, snapping a two-game skid with a 14-4 victory over the Travs. Cards' starter Eric Haberer recorded his seventh win in his last seven starts and Cody Haerther made a successful return to the lineup, homering and driving in a pair of runs.
Haberer (11-4), who only allowed one run in his first six innings, surrendered a total of four runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings. The left-hander struck out five, while walking just one batter. After the Travs went up 1-0 in the first, Springfield knocked around Arkansas starter Fernando Rodriguez for three first-inning runs. Bryan Anderson's RBI single tied the game at 1-1, as he plated Juan Richardson. Juan Lucena followed with a two-run triple, putting the Redbirds in front for good at 3-1. Rodriguez settled down until the fourth, when he gave up a two-run blast to right field by Mark Hamilton, his third of the year in a Springfield uniform, making it 5-1.
Springfield sent ten men to the plate in a five-run fifth inning, taking a commanding 10-1 advantage. Richardson, Anderson and Jose Martinez all collected RBIs, before Mark Shorey capped the inning with a two-run single. All ten runs were charged to Rodriguez (6-2), who went just 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and three walks, while hitting two batters. Arkansas got three in the seventh against Haberer to round out their scoring.
Mark Shorey and Cody Haerther each hit a two-run homer to cap the Springfield scoring. Shorey's 11th of the year made it 12-4 in the seventh. Haerther connected in the eighth, his first home run of the year, making it 14-4. Haerther, who had hamate bone surgery on his right hand in June, finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs in his first game since coming off the DL.
Thursday, August 2
After the big win on Wednesday, the Cards were unable to repeat their performance on Thursday as the Arkansas Travelers beat the Cards 4-1 at Hammons Field. Nick Green (8-6) recorded the win for the Travs as Adam Daniels (4-4) suffered the loss for the Cards.
The Cardinals (23-16) are now two games up on Arkansas (21-18) in the second half North Division standings. The Travs and the Cardinals have nine games head-to-head left on the 2007 schedule.
The Cards leave for Tulsa on Friday to open up a four-game series with the
Drillers that night. They return to Hammons Field on August the 8 to play a
six-game home stand with the San Antonio Missions and the Corpus Christi Hooks.
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