The Springfield Cardinals Report: 06/06

After a rough start to the season, the Double-A club has fought back to two games under .500 and three games out of first place.

Friday, May 30


Springfield Cardinals starter Jess Todd is proving himself to be a regular ace on the mound, winning his second straight outing and recording his second straight seven-inning shut-out on Friday night at Hammons Field. Todd recorded his second seven-inning shut-out performance, allowing only one hit for the second straight outing.  His last one-hit performance ended up going to extra innings in a scoreless tie, preventing the right-hander from winning his first Texas League game. Todd allowed a lead-off single to Gabe Lopez to open the game.  He then worked seven innings of no-hit baseball, allowing just four base-runners after the Lopez single in the first.  The right-hander allowed one walk, but hit three batters, striking out two over seven innings, as the Cards beat the Missions 5-2.


Another impressive part of Friday night's game was the help that Todd got from his teammates. Springfield started the game with a RBI single in the first inning, and a solo homer from Mark Hamilton to give the Cards an early 2-0 lead. Craig added to the score in the third, scoring Shane Robinson on a single, giving the Cards a 3-0 lead. Hamilton also struck again, hitting a long-ball down the right field line, his first two-home-run game this year, a two run shot that put Springfield ahead 5-0. That homer was Hamilton's sixth of the year.


Kyle Sadlowski came out of the Springfield bullpen and gave up two in the eighth, but got some help from Fernando Salas, who earned the final out in the eighth.  Salas then worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save of the year. 

Springfield was set to open a three-game series with the Corpus Christi Hooks on Saturday, as they improved their record to 24-29, still five games back of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the Texas League Northern Division.

Saturday, May 31

For the first time in 2008, the Corpus Christi Hooks beat the Springfield Cardinals by a score of 7-2, Saturday night at Hammons Field.

Cards' starter Clayton Mortensen gave up two-runs in the second, after walking three straight men in a row with two outs. Drew Sutton hit a single to drive in the two runs and put Corpus Christi on the board.

Tommy Manzella, who missed a cycle by a single, opened the third inning with a home run, his fourth of the year. Later in the inning Ole Sheldon would walk and wind-up scoring on a passed ball, putting the Hooks ahead 4-0.

Tyler Greene made things interesting by going long in the Cards' half of the third inning, making it 4-1. It was Greene's seventh of the season.

Brandon Yarbrough went opposite field in the fourth, down the left-field line for his first homer of the year, making it a two-run game at 4-2. 


The game went into hyper-losing in the eighth inning, as Tommy Manzella hit a three-run tripple over Jon Jay's head, making it 7-2.


Springfield managed to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth against Corpus Christi reliever Ryan McKeller, but Yaybrough grounded out into a double play that ended the inning--end of threat.


Mortensen (3-4) took the loss, allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits over five innings.  The right-hander walked a season-high six men and struck out a season-best eight in the loss. 


Hooks right-hander Tip Fairchild got the win, allowing two runs on six hits over five innings. 


The Cards fell to 24-30, still five games back in the North Division of the Texas League. 


Sunday, June 1


It was a real nail-biter on Sunday as the Springfield Cardinals used five pitchers to wrap-up a 1-0 shut-out victory against the Corpus Christi Hooks, the only team that the Cards had shut-out previously this year, winning both games 1-0.


Adam Otttavino started the game for Springfield in a rather shaky fashion, working three scoreless innings. He retired the first six men he faced in the first two innings, but then walked the next three. Somehow, he managed to get out of the bases-loaded jam by getting Richie Paz to ground out to short. Kyle Sadlowski, who would eventually wind up the winning pitcher, came in to replace Ottavino in the fourth and pitched a scoreless fourth and fifth innings, allowing only one run.


It was in the bottom of the fifth when the Cards scored the only, and winning, run of the game. Casey Rowlett sent a single out to left field that scored Steven Hill from second, against hooks reliever Sean Walker.


Jon Mikrut and Marco Gonzalez combined to work innings six, seven and eight, allowing four hits between them over their three scoreless innings.

In a scoreless ninth, Fernando Salas fanned the final two batters of the inning, after allowing a one-out single, giving him his sixth save of the season, in his last six appearances.


The Redbirds improved to 25-30 with the win, and were just four games back of Northwest Arkansas in the Texas League North Division.

Monday, June 2

Losing 3-1 to the Corpus Christi Hooks in the eighth  inning, the Cards came to bat in the bottom of the inning and scored four times to get a come-from-behind win, beating the Hooks 5-3 and finishing the home stand 3-3. It was Mark Hamilton's double that made the difference, scoring Allen Craig with the game winning run.

Shane Robinson got things started in the eighth inning by getting Corpus Christi reliever Sammy Gervacio to issue him a lead off walk. That piece of work was followed by a two-run homer by Jon Jay to tie the score. Craig then hit a single and eventually scored, giving the Cards a 4-3 lead. Hamilton then scored a big insurance run on a Tyler Greene two-out single, making it 5-3.

The game couldn't end without a little more excitement from the Hooks, as closer Fernando Salas allowed a lead-off single to Wladimir Sutil in the ninth, but then struck out the next three batters to earn his seventh save of the year.

Cards starter Mark McCormick allowed just three hits--all home runs. McCormick pitched seven innings and allowed three solo homers--two to Rob Cosby. It was McCormick's longest outing of the season. Reliever Luke Gregerson got the win, throwing a scoreless eighth inning.

At 26-30, the Cards took a much needed day off Tuesday before beginning a four game series with the Tulsa Drillers on Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 4

With only 13 games left in the first half of the season, the Springfield Cardinals beat the Tulsa Drillers 4-1 and improved their record to 27-30, remaining four games back of the Texas League North Division leaders--the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Pitching was once again a key factor in getting the win. Cards' starter Tyler Herron held the Tulsa offense to just two hits over seven innings. Herron allowed only two walks, striking out three, as he earned his second Texas League win.

In the third inning, Shane Robinson hit a solo home run to left center to give the Cards a 1-0 lead.  Robinson hit a single in the first inning extending his hitting streak to eight games.

Mark Shorey hit his third home run of the year in the sixth inning, to give Springfield a 2-0 lead. Tyler Greene blasted a triple in the seventh, and scored on a Shane Robinson line-drive that went off the glove of Tulsa third baseman Tony Blanco. The play was ruled an error as Greene scored to make it 3-0.

Steven Hill also hit his third home run of the year, taking Tulsa starter Brandon Hynick's pitch to the opposite field, making it 4-0 Cards.

The Drillers got a run off Luke Gregerson, who continues to struggle on the mound after having a stellar start to the season, in the eighth as Dexter Fowler's RBI single to right scored Duke Sardinha, making it 4-1.

Fernando Salas worked the ninth and allowed a pair of singles.  But with the tying run at the plate, Salas got Justin Nelson to foul out and Neil Wilson to line out to Robinson in left field, giving Salas his eighth save in his last eight outings.

Thursday, June 5

It really doesn't seem possible, but the Springfield Cardinals are now only two games away from playing .500 baseball. Thursday night's 3-2 win showed just how capable this team is at playing good fundamental ball.

Jess Todd, the talk of the Birdhouse forums and the Texas League Pitcher of the Week, had another solid outing, even though he gave up two runs (one earned), on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He did not factor into the win, giving up the earned run in the first inning to Tony Blanco, who singled Eric Young Jr. home to give Tulsa a 1-0 lead. He gave up the unearned run in the seventh inning as Corey Wimberly singled to open the seventh. Wimberly advanced to third on a pair of errant pick-off attempts by Todd, then scored on Brian Esposito's RBI single, tying the game at 2-2.

The game stayed tied until the ninth inning when Aaron Fultz came out of the bullpen to open the inning throwing exactly one pitch in his Tulsa debut, one that would become a Mark Shorey lead-off home run to put the Redbirds ahead for good. The win was the fourth straight, moving them to within three games of division leading Northwest Arkansas. 

Marco Gonzalez came out of the Springfield bullpen in the bottom of the ninth inning and gave up a lead-off single to open the inning, but retired the next three Drillers, as has become Springfield's style as of late.  Gonzalez left Cory Wimberly stranded in scoring position, getting Brian Esposito to ground out for his first Double-A save. Jon Mikrut (1-2) earned the win, tossing 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief out of the bullpen. 

Steven Hill popped his second homer in as many games and fourth of the year in the fourth inning, a solo shot off of Drillers' starter Ching-Lung Lo to tie the game at 1-1. 

Shane Robinson opened the inning with a single, extending his hitting streak to nine straight games.  After Jon Jay sacrificed Robinson to second, Hill came through with a two-out RBI single to put Springfield in front 2-1. 

The Cards will be hoping to make it five in a row on Friday night in Tulsa, sending Kyle Sadlowski to the mound against left-hander Xavier Cedeno.

In other news:

The St. Louis Cardinals made another roster move on Sunday, bringing up former Springfield Cardinals' closer Mark Worrell to the big leagues, replacing Kelvin Jimenez.  For Triple-A Memphis this year, Worrell was 1-1 in 21 relief appearances, with an ERA of just 1.88.  Worrell, who debuted with a scoreless inning in Tuesday's 6-1 win in Washington and hit a home run in one of the two games played against Washington on Thursday night, is the 11th former Springfield Cardinal to make his major league debut for the St. Louis Cardinals. 


In order, the list goes like this:  RHP Josh Kinney, RHP Dennis Dove, LHP Troy Cate, INF Brendan Ryan, RHP Andy Cavazos, RHP Kyle McClellan, INF Rico Washington, RHP Mike Parisi, RHP Chris Perez, OF Joe Mather and now RHP Mark Worrell.  Rick Ankiel, who debuted as a pitcher prior to his transition to the outfield, would be the 12th former Cardinal to play for St. Louis. 

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