The Springfield Cardinals Report: 05/23/08

After breaking a ten-game losing skid on Monday, the Double-A Springfield Cardinals look to extend their current three-game Texas League winning streak.

It took 11 tries to do it, but the Springfield Cardinals finally won a game on Monday night. For the fans, and the players, it was like the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series, with bases loaded and two outs, and the pitcher batting, as everyone at Hammons Field held their collective breath until the final out of the game was made.

 

Clayton Mortensen, Casey Rowlett and Jon Jay all had big nights to help the Cards end their record-setting losing streak. Mortensen had a stupendous start and Rowlett and Jay each drove in two runs as Springfield beat the Tulsa Drillers 6-4, in a game much too close for loss-weary fans.

 

Saturday, May 17

 

Things were looking up for Springfield on Saturday night, hoping to end their eight-game losing streak, as they led the Tulsa Drillers early after Allen Craig hit his third home run of the year, giving the Cards a 2-0 advantage in the first inning. Mike McCormick, working on a limited pitch count, reached his maximum number of tosses, managing to pitch two scoreless innings, and was replaced by Adam Daniels. Daniels gave up a run in the third, but the Cards were still ahead 2-1. Yahoo, happy fans.

 

And, the fans got even happier as Steven Hill hit an RBI single in the third inning, putting Springfield ahead 4-1. Happy, happy fans! The clouds started to settle in though over Hammons Field in the fourth inning, as Tulsa scored two more times making it a 4-3 game. Still the fans were happy. Then, in the sixth, Jose Martinez knocked in a run with an infield single in the sixth inning, giving Springfield a two-run lead (5-3) and a little wiggle room, and happy, happy fans.

 

Tulsa managed two runs in the top of the seventh, but Springfield came back in the bottom of the inning to score two themselves when Tyler Greene hit a two-run homer. Springfield still held a 7-5 lead and there were happy, happy, happy fans filling the stadium.

 

But, the fan elation didn't last too long as since-released reliever Rob Zimmermann got into trouble in the eighth. Zimmermann gave up a bases-loaded double to Tony Blancos, who picked up two RBI and tied the score at 7-7. Zimmermann issued an intentional walk to Jeff Kindel and with bases loaded, Daniel Carte blasted a line drive down the left-field line for a grand-slam. It was second in as many nights for Tulsa. With an 11-7 lead, and no happy, happy fans, Zack Zuercher allowed Neil Wilson to hit a solo homer making it 12-7, and Tulsa came away with a seven-run inning. And, no happy Springfield fans.

 

Springfield fans managed a slight smile of hope, as they got an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth against Tulsa reliever Jarrett Grube, but Eduardo Valdez came on to stop the Springfield rally, and then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his first save of the year, and handing the Springfield Cardinals and a host of unhappy fans, their ninth straight loss.

 

Sunday, May 18

 

It was a game of numbers Sunday, as Springfield lost their 10th game in a row, falling to Tulsa 9-5, brought about by a five-run seventh inning, including a three-run double, dropping the Cards to a season record of 17-26, leaving them in third place in the Texas League Northern Division.

 

Not much happened in the first four innings.  Jess Todd, in his Hammons Field debut, threw well until the fifth inning when he gave up a two-out RBI single to Chris Nelson, as the Drillers finally took a 1-0 lead. Allen Craig came right back in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run, the fourth game in a row in which he homered, tying the score at 1-1.

 

In the sixth, the Drillers took the lead for good when Tony Blanco hit a solo homer to center field to make it a 2-1 game. Tulsa scored five more times in the seventh inning as it became a 7-2 game. The Cards attempted a rally in the ninth, scoring four runs with two outs. Tyler Greene and Allen Craig each had two-run singles, making it a 9-5 game. With the tying run in the on-deck circle, Jonathan George got Brandon Yarbrough to ground out to second, ending the Springfield threat.

 

Ching-Lung Lo (2-6) got the win, while Todd took the loss.

 

Monday, May 19

 

It finally happened--the skid ended and the Cards won on Monday night, beating the Tulsa Drillers 6-4, a game much to close for fans in attendance.

 

The Drillers scored the first run of the game when Tony Blanco's sacrifice fly put Tulsa ahead 1-0. In the second, Casey Rowlett hit a two-run triple to make it 2-1. In the third, Jose Martinez drove home a run, singling in Allen Craig, making it 3-1.

 

Tulsa jumped back on the board in the fourth on an RBI single from pitcher Xavier Cedeno, making the score 3-2. The Cards scored two in the fourth when Jon Jay got a two-run single that plated Mark Shorey and Clayton Mortensen, to make it 5-3. Isa Garcia, led off the eighth inning with a single, then scored on Tulsa's third error of the game, making the score 6-3.

 

The Drillers had a ninth inning that was a nightmare for Springfield fans who were poised to celebrate an end to the 10-game skid. Trailing 6-3, Matt Miller hit a ball to Mark Shorey in right field. Shorey misplayed the ball and Miller wound up on second. With one out, Corey Wimberly was retired attempting to bunt his way on. Then Dexter Fowler, hit a two-out RBI single that plated Miller cutting the Cards lead to 6-4. For the third time in the ninth inning, the fans took to their feet to watch the final out, Fernando Salas caught Chris Nelson looking, and the Cards won their first game in the last eleven tries. The crowd erupted like it was the Championship game, and the team gathered around the pitcher's mound like they had just won it all.

 

Wednesday, May 21

 

According to Mike Lindskog, voice of the Springfield Cardinals, the Cards played one of their best games of the year from top to bottom after a day off, defeating the San Antonio Missions 2-1 on Wednesday night at Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium in San Antonio.

 

"Tyler Herron was awesome, picking up his first career Double-A win, allowing just one run on four hits over six strong innings," Lindskog said. "Herron did get some help from the Texas League's leading batter, Shane Robinson, who knocked in the game-winning run in the seventh."

 

It was a tight game going into the seventh inning, with the two teams tied at 1-1. Robinson, with a Texas League leading .410 average, hit a two-out single to center field, driving in Tyler Greene with the eventual winning run against Jon Ellis (3-3).

 

The Cards scored the games first run in the sixth inning, Steven Hill's fielders' choice, plated Jon Jay from third base, giving the Cards a 1-0 lead.

 

"Mike Ekstrom of San Antonio was equally impressive," Lindskog said. "He allowed just one run on four hits over six innings."

 

Herron gave up his only run in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a single to Mike Baxter, with two outs, that drove in Brett Dowdy to tie the game at 1-1.

 

So with two wins under their belts, the Cards looked to remain on track before returning to Hammons Field on May 28th.

 

Thursday, May 22

 

The Cards made it three in a row on Thursday night, beating the San Antonio Missions 6-4. Kyle Sadlowski took the win in his first outing at the Double-A level in relief of starter Adam Ottavino. Nick Webber and Marco Gonzalez also did a nice job in middle relief, combining for three shutout innings. Closer Luke Gregerson collected his seventh save of the season, despite a shaky ninth during which one run scored and the potential tying run reached base.

 

Batting sixth, catcher Bryan Yarbrough carried the big stick, reaching base four times via a walk and three hits, including a pair of doubles and an RBI. Jose Martinez added two singles and scored both times.

 

Despite the earlier losing skid, the 20-26 Cardinals are just five games out of first place in the Texas League North Division heading into the weekend. They finish the San Antonio series on Friday before heading to Corpus Christi for games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

 

 

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