Beat reporter John Brayfield's weekly report from the St. Louis Cardinals' Double-A affiliate in Springfield, MO. Closer Luke Gregerson has six saves on the season.
have had a lot of heroes at the baseball park over the years, going all the way
back to when I would lay on my grandparents' living room floor and watch the
Cardinals play on my granddad's black and white TV, listening to Dizzy Dean sing
the Wabash Cannonball while Pee Wee Reese tried to keep the game rolling along.
Tuesday of this week, I met a different kind of hero - one of the good guys and
one straight from the heart of Cardinal Country. The last day of the Cards
latest homestand, I entered Hammons Field through the media gate, went up two
flights of stairs, turned the corner and ran right into my insurance agent, Dave
has always been a big supporter of the food drive that is held each year at
Hammons Field and he even got to throw out the first pitch as an award for doing
such a good job collecting food for the hungry. He told me that this year he had
decided to work with the schools in Dallas
(he is from Buffalo,
to organize a food drive contest. He would take the class that collected the
most food to a Springfield Cardinals baseball game. When all was said and done,
he decided that the kids all did such a great job, that they all deserved to go.
So, he took them all. He was there with 784 kids. Now that is a brave man. My
that same day, the Cards got a big win that put them astride the .500 mark for
the first time this season, just one piece of a week-long ride that pulled them
into first place in the Texas League North Division.
Friday, the Springfield Cardinals pulled back into first place by a full game in
the Texas League North Division by beating the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 7-3
at home. The Naturals held on to second place.
moved slowly until the third inning when Springfield
jumped to a 1-0 lead as Matt Pagnozzi reached base on an error and later scored
on an RBI ground-out from Shane Robinson. The run was considered
starting pitcher, Jaime Garcia, pitched well, giving up only one run on five
hits over six innings. The sixth inning saw the Naturals tie the score when
Geraldo Valentin scored from first on a Juan Richardson double. In the bottom of
the inning, with two outs, Luke Gorsett got a RBI single to drive in Allen Craig
to make it 2-1.
Bob Zimmermann took over in the seventh, but walked the first batter he faced,
Ovandy Suero, who later scored on a Jose Duarte double, tying the game at 2-2.
The tie was broken in the bottom of the inning when Pagnozzi hit his second home
run in two days to give the Çards a 3-2
lead. The Cards held that lead through the eighth inning, adding five
more runs to the margin. Allen Craig hit a three-run homer and Luke Gorsett
blasted a solo homer in the eighth.
seemed to feel like they had to make it interesting, as in the ninth, trailing
7-2, the first three batters reached base against reliever Zack Zuercher.
Zuercher left the game and Luke Gregerson entered to strike out Jose Duarte for
the first out, and then got Angel Sanchez to ground out for the second out,
scoring Marc Maddox to make it a 7-3 game. Then with two on, and two out,
Geraldo Valentin at the plate, and former Springfield Cardinal Juan Richardson,
representing the tying run, in the on-deck circle, Gregerson struck out Valentin
looking to end the game and give the Cards the 7-3 victory.
game saw Jose Martinez extend his hitting streak to 10 straight while Jon Jay
(12) and Shane Robinson (eight) saw theirs come to an end.
game was not a pretty site as the Arkansas Travelers came to town and forced
Springfield into five double-plays, had 16 hits including a season high four
home runs and beat the Cards 10-4 at Hammons Field. Adam Morrissey hit two home
runs for Arkansas
while Ben Johnson and Tim Duff went deep for the other two.
starter Clayton Mortensen (1-2) had not given up a run at Hammons in his two
previous starts but made up for it when Arkansas rocked him for six runs in 4
1/3 innings. Arkansas
struck early as Jordan Czarniecki and Nate Sutton got RBI singles, as the Travs
took a 2-0 lead.
cut the lead in half on an unearned run in the second, but Johnson hit his homer
the next inning to raise the score to 4-1. The Cards did manage to cut the
deficit to 4-3 on a two-RBI double from Mark Shorey.
fifth inning saw Morrissey hit his first home run, a two-run blast to right
field, which made the score 6-3 and chased Mortensen from the mound. Fernando
Salas came in relief, but did not fair much better against Morrissey, as he
delivered a solo home run in the seventh to give Arkansas a 7-3 lead.
the eighth, Josh Dew allowed a pair of runs to give the Travs a 9-3 lead.
would add their final tally in the bottom of the inning as Mark Shorey plated
Jose Martinez on an infield single to make it 9-4.
Zuercher served up a solo home run in the ninth, to give
their 10-4 final score. The five double-plays turned by
were the most in franchise history.
was more like it, although the first three innings made it hard to keep down a
hot dog and a favorite beverage. The game started out with right-hander Tyler Herron, just called up from Palm
starting in place of P.J. Walters, who was promoted to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds during Saturday's game.
gave up a solo home run in the first to Hainley Statia and a two-run double to
Ben Johnson in the third to give Arkansas an early 3-0 lead. In the third, the
Cards rallied to tie the game 3-3 as A. J. Van Slyke, son of Andy, who reached
on a bunt, scored from third on a wild pitch, while Brandon Yarbrough and Jose
Martinez both got RBI singles.
the fifth Allen Craig hit a two-out ground-rule double to drive in Yarbrough to
break the tie and put the Cards in the lead for good. In the same inning, Luke
Gorsett hit a two-run single to center to give Springfield
a 6-3 lead.
the sixth, Tyler Greene homered (his fourth of the year) and Jon Jay drove home
a run as Springfield took a commanding 8-3 lead that would hold up to give the
Cards the win and put them back in first place in the Texas League North
bulllpen did an astounding job Sunday holding off the Travs in the final 5-1/3
innings. Bob Zimmermann, Nick Webber and Marco Gonzalez, combined to allow only
two hits in their five-plus innings. Herron got a no decision as he gave up
three runs on five hits.
pitching staff did it again on Monday night as Springfield
4-1. Cory Rauschenberger (1-2)
earned his first win of the season, and Luke Gregerson, who pitched a scoreless
ninth, collected his fifth save in as many attempts. Josh Dew and Fernando Salas
would both do their part in the bullpen's four scoreless innings. Dew got into a
bases-loaded one-out jam in the seventh, but Salas came in and fanned Coby Smith
then got Hainley Statia to ground out to end the inning. Salas worked a perfect
eighth inning before Gregerson took over in the ninth. Gregerson did allow two
men to reach base, but pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the
took an early lead when Nate Sutton's two-out double scored Cliff Remole in the
second to give Arkansas
a 1-0 advantage. Springfield
equaled the lead in the fourth when Jose Martinez brought Allen Craig home with
a sacrifice fly, tying the game at 1-1.
Shorey scored in the fifth on a Shane Robinson RBI double to give the Cardinals
a 2-1 lead. Jon Jay followed with an RBI ground-out which scored Tyler Greene
from third, giving Springfield
a 3-1 lead. In the sixth, with one out, Brandon Yarbrough tripled, then scored
on an RBI single by Luke Gorsett, to give the Cards their final tally of 4-1,
keeping them in a tie for first place with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
win on Tuesday was the third straight for Springfield.
They still remained in a tie for first place, as Northwest
earlier in the day. The two top teams were slated to play four games in
beginning on Wednesday.
Cardinals struck early against Arkansas
as they jumped on starter Fernando Rodriquez with three runs in the first
inning. Shane Robinson singled to lead off the game, then stole second and
scored on a Jon Jay RBI single. Brandon Yarbrough hit a two-run single to put
on top 3-0.
Travelers got two in the second, but Springfield
came back in the bottom on the inning to erase those two runs with two of their
own. Jay and Allen Craig each had RBI to put the Cards in front,
the fourth, Craig and Jay both drove in runs to make it 7-2
Robinson, Jay and Craig, batting in the top of the order, combined for eight
hits, five RBI and five runs scored.
Travs rallied back in the fifth as they chased starter Adam Daniels and scored
three times to make it a 7-5 game. In the seventh,
scored against reliever Zack Zuercher to make it 7-6. Zuercher walked the
lead-off man in the eighth, but Marco Gonzalez retired the final two batters and
wound up leaving the tying run in scoring position. Luke Gregerson pitched a
perfect ninth, as induced Corey Smith to pop up to end the game.
native Bob Zimmermann collected his third win of the homestand working 1 2/3
innings of scoreless relief. Daniels got a no decision, allowing five runs on
six hits over 4 1/3 innings.
it comes right down to it-- Mother Nature always rules. The forecast before
Wednesday nights game with Northwest Arkansas at Arvest Stadium in Springdale
called for rain, rain, and more rain, However the rain held off long enough to
start the game, but not long enough to finish it, as Springfield beat the
Naturals 8-1 in a rain-shortened game.
the seventh inning, Springfield
was leading 8-1 after Allen Craig hit a two-run homer. Josh Dew came out of the
bullpen to start the eighth, but never even got to toss a warm-up pitch. The
game was delayed for a short time, but nature did in the Naturals and
came away with a win, their fifth in a row.
starting pitcher Jess Todd gave a strong performance. Todd, the former Arkansas
Razorback, got into some trouble with his control, but still managed to pitch 3
1/3 innings of scoreless ball. He struck out six batters, allowing only three
walks and two hits. Nick Webber
worked the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing just one unearned run on two hits. It
was his third win of the year.
the third inning, Springfield
took a 1-0 lead when Shane Robinson singled against Naturals' starter Rowdy Hardy to plate A.J. Van Slyke, son of Andy. It was the third straight three-hit
game for Robinson.
Cards broke the game open in the fourth inning by scoring five times. Leading
off the inning, Craig got his first of two homers on the night to put
ahead, 2-1. Mark Hamilton doubled and scored on Tyler Greene's double for a 3-0
lead. Brandon Yarbrough stroked an RBI single to make it 4-0. Casey Rowlett had
an RBI triple, then scored on a Van Slyke RBI groundout, making it 6-0.
Naturals managed to get on the board with an unearned run in the sixth. With the
score 8-1, the rain came and the players went to the locker room to shower. The
Cardinals were then one game over .500 (17-16) and would play Northwest Arkansas
three more games before moving on to Little Rock to play the Travelers four
games before returning to Hammons Field on May 16.
May 9, 2008,
the Springfield Cardinals are once again in a tie for first place in the
Division with Northwest
after losing to the Nats, 6-2 at Arvest
Naturals ended the Cards' winning streak at four games and also set them back to
.500. Cards starter Clayton Mortensen (1-3) gave up five runs, four of them
earned, in just 3 2/3 innings. In the first inning, Kila Kaaihue hit a two-run
homer to center field to give the Naturals an 2-0 lead. Mortensen was removed
from the mound in the fourth after Northwest
scored three more runs. Mario Lisson hit a grounder to third basemen Allen
Craig, who made the play, but his throw to first was off the mark and Juan
Richardson, who led off with a double and moved to third on Kaaihue's single,
scored. Ed Lucas and Brian McFall turned in a couple of RBI singles, making it
the sixth inning, Springfield's
Tyler Greene and Shane Robinson opened with back-to-back doubles. Robinson drove
in Greene and Robinson scored on a sacrifice fly by Luke Gorsett, making it 5-2.
In the bottom of the inning, Brian McFall scored Lisson to make it 6-2. The
score would hold up until the end of the game.
win went to Naturals' Dusty Hughes, who started, allowing two runs on five hits
in five-plus innings. Robinson finished the game 2-for-3, snapping his string of
three straight three-hit games. He continues to lead the Texas League in batting
with an average of .429.
Cards will play two more in Springdale,
and then take on the Arkansas Travelers in Little
for four games.
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