The Springfield Cardinals Report – Week 18

Our exclusive weekly report on the 2007 edition of the Double-A Springfield Cardinals of the Texas League. Third baseman Juan Richardson went deep twice on Thursday.

What was beginning to seem like a sure thing has suddenly become a toss-up as the Springfield Cardinals dropped their record to 25-20, only two games ahead of Arkansas in the Texas League Northern Division, as they scrap to try and win the second half championship. It has been a whirlwind week with more tallies in the loss column than on the win side. But, sometimes unexpected thrills make up for a few losses.


Thursday, August 9


Last night (Thursday, August 9) the loudest roar from the crowd all year echoed throughout Hammons Field when Public Address Announcer Kevin Howard, announced that Rick Ankiel had hit a three-run homer for St. Louis. Ankiel is one of the most loved and respected players to ever wear a Springfield Cardinals uniform, and the buzz around the stadium at game time was that Rick had been called back to St. Louis. The crowd couldn't have been happier--except when he hit that home run. The fans went crazy and cheered Ankiel's success as if he had just hit that three-run dinger over the scoreboard in centerfield at Hammons.


Even a big win for Springfield was overshadowed by Ankiel's return to the majors. And it was a big win. The Springfield Cardinals got two homers out of Juan Richardson on Thursday night, snapping their three-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the San Antonio Missions at Hammons Field. Richardson recorded his first multi-homer game of the year with a pair of solo home runs, helping the Cards maintain their lead in the North Division Second Half standings. The Missions got their only run in the first inning against Cards' starter Mitchell Boggs, taking a 1-0 advantage on Chase Headley's RBI double. Richardson answered with two outs in the home-half of the inning, driving an opposite field solo shot over the wall in right field, tying the game at 1-1.

Springfield took the lead for good, scoring a run in the second on Mark Hamilton's RBI single, taking a 2-1 lead. Richardson struck again in the third, blasting a home run to right-center field for a 3-1 lead. For Richardson, the homer is his 18th of the year, tying him with Colby Rasmus for the active team lead. He now has a total of 35 career home runs as a Springfield Cardinal, the most in franchise history. Bryan Anderson's two-run single with two outs in the eighth gave the Redbirds some insurance, as he plated Casey Rowlett and Colby Rasmus to make it 5-1. Anderson finished the night with three hits to lead the offense.


Zack Zuercher allowed a couple of hits and a walk in the ninth and with one out, was replaced by Jason Motte. Motte came in and recorded his sixth save of the year, fanning the only two batters he faced to end the game. Boggs struggled with his control, walking four and hitting a batter in six innings. However, the Missions couldn't figure Boggs (10-5) out offensively, as he limited San Antonio bats to just the one run on three hits. San Antonio's Cesar Ramos (10-8) took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits over six innings. Kyle McClellan worked two scoreless innings of relief out of the Springfield bullpen.


Friday, August 3


This past week will go down in Springfield Cardinal history as the week thatwas. Last Friday (August 3) in Tulsa, Springfield dropped a wild one, losing the opening game of a four-game series by a score of 11-10. Tommy Duenas connected for a walk-off home run to open the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Drillers their third straight win. Tied at 10 in the bottom of the ninth, Cards reliever Nick Webber was summoned into the game, the fifth pitcher of the night used by the Cards. Webber (1-2) threw just four pitches to Duenas, who drove his fifth homer of the year over the left-center field fence.


The Cards and Drillers went back and forth all night long, as neither team could seem to hold the lead. Springfield jumped on Tulsa starter Ching-Lung Lo, for four first-inning runs. Cody Haerther and Amaury Marti each knocked in a run with a hit. Bryan Anderson then followed with a two-run double, giving Springfield a 4-0 lead. After responding with one in the first, the Drillers got five in the second against Cards starter Mitchell Boggs. All six Tulsa runs in the first two innings were unearned due to a pair of Springfield errors. Tulsa's Aaron Rifkin capped the inning with a three-run blast, his 12th of the year to give the Drillers a 6-4 lead. The teams exchanged runs in the fourth. Juan Lucena doubled to open the inning and scored on a single by Mitchell Boggs, making it 6-5. Tulsa countered, as Corey Wimberly doubled and later scored on a sac fly off the bat of Christian Colonel, giving Tulsa a 7-5 lead. Lucena clubbed a two-run single off the wall in the fifth, scoring Marti and Anderson to tie the game at 7-7 against Lo, who allowed seven earned runs on 13 hits over just five innings.


Boggs was removed after five innings as well, giving up seven runs, only one earned, on eight hits. Cards reliever Matt Scherer was touched for three runs in the sixth inning, as Tulsa took a 10-7 lead. Colonel and Chris Frey highlighted the inning, each collecting a run-scoring hit. Springfield inched closer in the seventh, as Juan Lucena's third hit, his first Double-A homer, made it a 10-9 game against Tulsa reliever Judd Songster. Jose Martinez got the Cards even in the eighth against Tulsa right-hander and eventual winner Jarrett Grube (5-3), blasting a solo shot down the left-field line, his fifth of the year to tie the game at 10-10.


Springfield came within one hit of their season-high, banging out 19 hits on Friday night against Tulsa pitching. Bryan Anderson, Juan Lucena and Mark Hamilton all had three hits for Springfield, while a total of seven different Cardinals had multi-hit games. St. Louis Cardinals' left-hander Tyler Johnson, down as part of a Major League rehab assignment pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, striking out one man. The Cards fell to 23-17 with the loss, still two games up on Arkansas in the North Division standings.


Saturday, August 4


On Saturday night, P.J. Walters won his first Double-A game, helping the Cards end a two-game skid, as Springfield knocked off Tulsa by a score of 4-2 at Drillers Stadium. In just his third Double-A start, Walters (1-2) worked seven strong innings, his longest outing with the Cardinals. The right-hander allowed just two runs on six hits, striking out two, while walking just one. 


Walters was staked to an early lead, as Cards left fielder Amaury Marti hit a two-run home run in the first inning, putting the Redbirds up 2-0. The homer for Marti was his second in just four games since joining the Cards. Tulsa struck for a run in the second, cutting Springfield's advantage to just a run.  Aaron Rifkin opened the inning with a double, then moved to third on a bunt-single by Jordan Czarniecki. Walters uncorked a wild pitch, bringing home Rifkin to make it 2-1. Springfield took a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning against Tulsa starter Jon Asahina. Colby Rasmus and Amaury Marti were issued back-to-back walks to open the fourth. Mark Hamilton moved the runners to second and third with a groundout to second base for the first out of the inning. Juan Lucena then hit a grounder that went off of third baseman Christian Colonel's glove. Both Rasmus and Marti scored on the error, making it 4-1. Tulsa got their final run in the sixth, as Colonel's 13th homer of the year made it 4-2.


Springfield got a scoreless eighth from Tyler Johnson, his second scoreless frame in as many nights. Johnson's appearance was the third in a Springfield uniform during his Major League Rehab Assignment. Johnson was expected to rejoin the St. Louis Cardinals within the next few days.


Jason Motte came on to close the ninth, his first save situation since closer Chris Perez was promoted to Triple-A Memphis. Motte allowed a lead-off single to Chris Frey to open the ninth, but induced Matt Miller into a 6-4-3 double play. With two outs and the bases empty, Motte then hit Rick Guarno with a pitch, bringing the tying run to the plate. Tommy Duenas, who hit a pinch-hit walk-off homer on Friday night, stepped to the plate in another pinch-hitting situation. Duenas wasn't as successful on Saturday, as Motte fanned him with a fast ball, giving Motte his fifth save in a Springfield uniform this year.


Asahina, making his first start since late-April after sustaining a line drive to the head on April 26th, took the loss. The right-hander allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits in just 3 1/3 innings. Lucena finished the night with two hits to lead the Springfield offense, which collected just six hits on the night. Lucena has hit safely in his last nine games, currently the longest hitting streak on the team. Springfield improved to 24-17 with the win, still two games up on Arkansas in the North Division.


Sunday, August 5


Sunday saw the Tulsa Drillers hold on for a 6-5 win, defeating Springfield in game three of a four-game set. Tulsa closer Steven Register allowed the Cards to get within a run in the ninth, but kept the tying run at third base to preserve his league-leading 31st save of the year. Trailing 6-4 in the ninth, Springfield opened the inning with back-to-back singles from Casey Rowlett and Jose Martinez. A walk to Colby Rasmus loaded the bases for Juan Richardson with no outs. Richardson ripped a fast ball to left-center field, taking Matt Miller all the way to the warning track to make the catch. On the play, Rowlett scored from third and Martinez moved to third, making it 6-5 and runners at the corners with one out. Cody Haerther then ripped a line drive that was caught by third baseman Christian Colonel for the second out. Amaury Marti popped up to end the game, giving Register his seventh save in as many tries against Springfield this year.


Some sloppy defense and a bright sun (no excuses, just the facts) allowed the Drillers to grab a big lead against the Cards in the third inning. After Springfield got on the board with a run in the third, Tulsa answered with five runs in the home-half of the inning. Cards' starter Eric Haberer allowed a walk and hit a batter to open the inning. Colonel followed with a single to load the bases. A ground ball to first base by Aaron Rifkin brought home the Drillers first run, tying the game at 1-1. Matt Macri then stepped to the plate and lifted a routine fly ball to right field. Springfield right fielder Amaury Marti lost the ball in the sun though, allowing a run to score to make it 2-1. After an intentional walk to Matt Miller loaded the bases, Duke Sardinha popped up to right field. Marti struggled again, losing the ball out of his glove, allowing another run to score to make it 3-1.


Rick Guarno then followed with a two-run double, giving the Drillers a 5-1 lead. Jordan Czarniecki singled to open the sixth, later scoring from third on a wild pitch to make it 6-1. Springfield would chip away, tallying three runs in the sixth to make it 6-4. Mark Hamilton and Sean Danielson highlighted the inning, each collecting a run-scoring single against Tulsa starter Samuel Deduno (5-6).


Haberer (11-5) took the loss, ending his personal seven-game winning streak.  In five innings, Haberer allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits, while walking four and striking out three. Zack Zuercher fired two perfect innings, while Chris Russ worked a scoreless eighth out of the Springfield bullpen. The Redbirds fell to 24-18 with the loss.


Monday, August 6


Monday didn't get any better as the Drillers took the final game of the four-game series that night, shutting out the Cardinals by a score of 3-0 at Drillers Stadium. Springfield has dropped six of the last seven meetings between the two teams in Tulsa. Tulsa starter Sean Thompson (2-1) was brilliant, limiting the Cards' offense to just four hits over 6 2/3 shut-out innings. The Cards rarely threatened, never moving a man past second base all night.  The Drillers got a run in the first against Cards' starter Cory Rauschenberger. Aaron Rifkin's sac fly scored Jonathan Herrera from third base, giving the Drillers the only run they would need. They added another in the third, as Chris Frey singled with two outs, advanced to second on a wild pitch, then scored on an RBI single from Christian Colonel, making it 2-0.  Rauschenberger (8-8) pitched well, working six full innings before being removed for a pinch hitter in the seventh. He allowed just two runs on five hits, with one walk and one strike out.


The Drillers got their final run in the seventh, taking a 3-0 lead. Cards' reliever Matt Scherer walked Matt Miller with one out, then wild pitched him to second base. Tulsa pitcher Jarrett Grube then grounded a ball up the middle. Cards' second baseman Casey Rowlett fielded it, but his throw got away from first baseman Mark Hamilton, allowing Miller to score the third Tulsa run. Drillers' closer Steven Register worked around a two-out walk in the ninth, getting pinch hitter Colby Rasmus to foul out to end the game, giving Register his league-leading 32nd save of the year. Springfield fell to 24-19 in the second half and 60-50 overall.


Wednesday, August 8


After a day off on Tuesday, the Cards returned to Hammons Field in hopes of racking up the first of a six game home stand sweep—but it was not to be. The only thing cooler than the Springfield Cardinals' bats was the frozen lemonade being hawked around the ballpark. But, the San Antonio Missions managed to rip four home runs on Wednesday night, taking the opening game of a three-game series by a final score of 12-8 at Hammons Field.


The Missions jumped on Cards' starter Adam Daniels in the second inning, scoring five times to take the early lead. San Antonio sent ten men to the plate, capping the inning with a two-run single from Colt Morton, as the Missions went up 5-0.  Springfield responded with two in the bottom of the inning, as Mark Hamilton brought two home with a two-run single to center field, making it 5-2. San Antonio clubbed three solo home runs in the third, taking an 8-2 lead.  Daniels surrendered long balls to Chad Huffman and Luis Cruz before being chased just one out into the third. Nick Webber then came out of the bullpen and gave up a home run to Matt Antonelli, his first of two long balls on the night.


The Redbirds countered with a pair in the bottom of the third, cutting the deficit to 8-4. Cody Haerther drove in a run with an RBI double to make it 8-3. Bryan Anderson then brought home Juan Ricardson from third with a sac fly, making it 8-4. The Missions scored two in the fourth and two in the fifth against Webber, taking a commanding 12-4 lead. Matt Antonelli's second homer of the game and seventh of the season highlighted the fifth inning. Springfield scored the game's last four runs, getting three in the seventh and one more in the eighth to cap the scoring. Jose Martinez homered in the seventh, his sixth homer in a Springfield uniform to make it 12-5.  Cody Haerther also picked up a run-scoring double in the inning, his third two-bagger of the night. Amaury Marti brought home a run with an RBI groundout, making it 12-7. Juan Lucena capped the scoring with a solo shot in the eighth, his second home run of the year to make it 12-8.


Daniels (4-5) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs on seven hits in just 2 1/3 innings. San Antonio starter Josh Geer (13-5) earned his league-leading 13th win of the year, giving up four runs on seven hits in six innings.



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