The Springfield Cardinals Report: 06/13/08

The St. Louis Cardinals' Double-A Texas League club is tied for first in the first-half divisional race with just five games to go.

Friday, June 6


Last Friday night, the Springfield Cardinals came back to within just two games of first place after beating the Tulsa Drillers by a score of 9-4 at Drillers Stadium in Tulsa. The win marked Springfield's fifth in a row, giving them a record of 29-30, just one game shy of .500 baseball.


It was Steven Hill's night as he hit a tie-breaking home run in the seventh inning and scored four runs in the ninth to put the game away for good. Hill took Tulsa starter Xavier Cedeno deep to left field with his fifth homer of the season and third home run in as many games in the series, breaking the 4-4 tie and giving Springfield a 5-4 lead.


Things looked good for the Cards in the eighth inning as they managed to load the bases. With two outs, Tulsa starter Ryan Mattheus threw a wild pitch that allowed Jose Martinez to score, making it it a 6-4 game. Then, on the very next pitch, Shane Robinson hit a two-run double scoring Mark Shorey and Matt Pagnozzi, making it 8-4. Jon Jay followed with an RBI triple, capping the score at 9-4.


The Cards got an early 2-0 lead in the second as Shane Robinson took advantage of some poor Tulsa defense as he hit a ball that went right between the legs of Tulsa third baseman Tony Blanco, allowing two men to score.


With Clayton Mortensen being called up to Triple-A Memphis on Friday morning, Kyle Sadlowski got the call to start for Springfield. Sadlowski worked into the third inning, but then walked two batters with two outs. Justin Fiske came out of the bullpen to replace Sadlowski, but allowed a two-run single off the bat of Matt Miller and a two-run homer to Blanco to give the Drillers a 4-2 lead. Fiske settled down after that and worked 2 1/3 innings, keeping the deficit at two runs.


Springfield kept chipping away at Tulsa, getting an unearned run in the fourth and tying the game in the sixth on a single RBI by Robinson, who extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games with three hits for the night, tying the game at 4-4.


Springfield reliever Scott Vander Weg worked the sixth inning, giving a scoreless performance, and picked up the win.



Saturday, June 7


The Springfield Cardinals whipped out the brooms on Saturday night in Tulsa as the Cards swept the Drillers at Drillers Stadium in a four-game series. The 8-6 win matched the Cardinals longest winning streak of the year at six, moved them to the .500 mark at 30-30, and put them within one game of first place in the Texas League North Division.


Tulsa grabbed the first lead of the game in the third inning with a Matt Miller solo home run off the arm of Springfield starter Adam Ottavino, giving Tulsa a 1-0 lead.


Springfield came back in the fourth as Mark Shorey's ground-out RBI scored Jon Jay to tie the game. Isa Garcia followed with a run-scoring double to make it 2-1, and later scored on a throwing error, giving the Cards a 3-1 advantage.


But the Drillers were not about to give up without a fight. In the fourth inning, Dexter Fowler tripled home a run and then scored on a Matt Miller sacrifice fly, tying the game at 3-3.


The Cards weren't about to give up easily either as they regained the lead in the fifth on another Shorey RBI ground-out, making it 4-3. Springfield then added another run as Mark Hamilton's pinch-hit double in the sixth scored Tyler Greene to make it 5-3.


Still not willing to give in to the Cards, Tulsa again tied it in the seventh, as they got a pair of runs off Cards' reliever Marco Gonzalez. Dexter Fowler started off the inning by homering to left, making it 5-4, and with two outs, Cory Wimberly doubled to score Jeff Kindel and tie the game 5-5.


Garcia came right back in the eighth for the Cards and hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot to put the Cards ahead, 6-5.


Cards' closer Fernando Salas drove home a huge insurance run in the ninth before earning his ninth save in his last nine appearances, but not before adding his own bit of excitement. With runners at second and third and two out, Salas allowed a run, but got Corey Wimberly to ground out to end it, giving Springfield an 8-0 record at Drillers Stadium this season. On the play, Tulsa catcher Neil Wilson lost control of the ball, allowing Jon Jay to score as well, putting Springfield up 8-5.

Cards reliever Luke Gregerson picked up the win with a scoreless ninth inning. And Shane Robinson went 1-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 11 straight.

Sunday, June 8

Is there anything in baseball more beautiful than a walk-off home run? Tyler Greene's walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, was a true thing of beauty. It not only gave the Cards a 9-7 win over the Arkansas Travelers on Sunday, it also put them in a tie for first place. The win for Springfield was their seventh in a row, a season high, and gave them an identical record with Northwest Arkansas. And there are just nine games to go in the first half of the 2008 season.

The heroics of Greene glazed over what was to be the big even of the day--the appearance of Matt Clement pitching in a major league rehab assignment. The former All-Star is in his first year as a Cardinal, but has not yet appeared in a major league game for St. Louis.

After opening the year on the disabled list, after missing all of 2007 with a shoulder injury, Clement started this June 3 for the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League.  The right-hander allowed just one hit over six scoreless innings, in picking up a win over Daytona.  Clement threw 75 pitches, striking out five men without issuing a walk. 

Clement is the second major league pitcher to rehab for Springfield this year, following Mark Mulder, who appeared in two games for the Cards earlier this season.

But, it was not to be Clement's day as the Travs jumped on him early, seizing a 3-0 advantage in the second. An RBI ground-out by Ben Johnson scored Nate Sutton to make it 1-0. Jordan Czarniecki, who reached on a hard-hit ball off the glove of Allen Craig, later scored on Brian Stavisky's RBI single, giving Arkansas a 2-0 lead. 

Brian Walker took Clement deep in the second to open the inning with his first homer of the year, a solo shot to right field, making it 3-0.

Brandon Yarbrough's two-run homer in the bottom of the inning tightened things up at 3-2. 

Clement was touched for three runs in the fifth inning to give Arkansas a 6-2 lead. Springfield got two in the seventh to tighten it up again at 6-4. Mark Hamilton was given a bases-loaded walk to force the man at third home to make it 6-3 and Jose Martinez reached base on a fly ball to left field, scoring Jon Jay from third to make it 6-4.

In the ninth, Jay again came to the front with a two-run double that would tie the score at 6-6. Arkansas took another lead in the top of the 10th inning, giving them a 7-6 advantage. Trailing by a run in the bottom of the 10th, Mark Hamilton was again issued a walk from Travs' reliever Stephen Marek. Jose Martinez put the tying run on second base with an infield single. Marek struck out Brandon Yarbrough for the second out and then faced Tyler Greene who sent 2-1 pitch over the right-field wall for a three run homer, his eighth of the year and the first walk-off home run of the season for Springfield.

Springfield reliever Jon Mikrut, who gave up a go-ahead home run to the Travs' Brian Stavisky in the tenth, picked up the win thanks to the Springfield rally in the tenth. 

Clement got a no-decision, throwing 75 pitches over five innings.  He allowed six runs, three earned, on seven hits.  He struck out two, walked three and hit a batter. 

Monday, June 9

If a walk-off home run is a thing of beauty, then a 12-2 romping by the Arkansas Travelers is a vile thing, and hopefully not to be repeated any time soon. Prior to Monday night's game, the Travs, Northwest Arkansas and Springfield were in a three-way tie for first place in the Northern Division of the Texas League. By the end of the game, Arkansas would be in first place all by themselves.

An eight-run second inning did Springfield in as they never recovered in the trouncing by Arkansas. Springfield starter Mark McCormick was charged with all eight runs in the second, but his teammates did little to help. The Travs scored their first on a bobbled ball in right field by Mark Shorey, allowing Brian Stavisky to score, making it 1-0.  Nate Sutton highlighted the inning with a grand slam, his fourth home run of the year, giving the Travs a 5-0 lead.  Ben Johnson homered three batters later, as Arkansas took a commanding 7-0 lead.  They finished the inning with an RBI double from Corey Smith off Cards' reliever Kyle Sadlowski, for an 8-0 lead. McCormick lasted only five outs into the game, leaving after giving up eight earned runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out three in his 1 1/3 inning of work.

Arkansas' ninth run came in the fifth when Drew Toussaint hit a drive down the left field line. Though the ball was ruled fair, Springfield manager Pop Werner saw it differently and let the umpires know in no uncertain terms. But to no avail, the run counted and the Travs led 9-1.

Travs' starter Dan Denham, who worked seven innings of one-run baseball on Monday night, allowed Jon Jay bloop single to score Tyler Greene in the third, but that would be all.  Denham allowed just one run on four hits, striking out four while walking just one. 

The Travs capped their scoring with three runs in the ninth against Cards' reliever Marco Gonzalez, highlighted by Brian Stavisky's two-run homer, his fourth of the year, making it a 12-1 game.

Springfield got their final run in the ninth against Travs' reliever Doug Brandt.  Steven Hill singled with one-out and later scored on an RBI hit from Brandon Yarbrough, finishing out the scoring at 12-2.

Shane Robinson finished the game 0-for-4, ending his 12-game hit streak.

Tuesday, June 10

Tied 1-1 in the sixth inning, Shane Robinson's two-run homer snapped the tie, as the Springfield Cardinals went on to beat the Arkansas Travelers 3-1, and reclaimed a share of first place in a tie with the Travs as both teams boasted records of 32-21 with just seven games left to play in the first half of the 2008 season.

In the first inning, Springfield capitalized on an Arkansas error when third baseman Corey Smith threw away a ball hit to him by Shane Robinson, who led off the inning, allowing Robinson to reach second. Jon Jay sacrificed Robinson to third and Allen Craig chased Robinson home with a ground-ball, making it a 1-0 game.

Arkansas tied it in the sixth inning on a two-out RBI hit by Ben Johnson, but the Cards wasted little time responding.  Casey Rowlett earned a lead-off walk from Travs' starter Anthony Ortega.  After Matt Pagnozzi laid down his second sacrifice of the night, pushing Rowlett to scoring position, Robinson followed with a high drive to left-center field, his fourth homer of the year, putting Springfield in front for good at 3-1. 

Springfield starter Tyler Herron threw the ball well in the no-decision.  Herron didn't allow a base-runner through the first three innings, then pitched out of trouble in the fourth and fifth.  Johnson's two-out single in the top of the sixth chased home Nate Sutton, forcing Herron to depart with the game tied at 1-1.  Luke Gregerson (3-3), who pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the win, retired Corey Smith on a ground ball to second base for the final out of the sixth.

Fernando Salas earned his team-leading tenth save of the year, coming out of the bullpen in the ninth inning, to give Springfield their eighth win in their last nine outings. Ortega (6-4) pitched well in the loss, allowing three runs, two earned, on only three hits over 6 2/3 innings.

Wednesday, June 11

We knew it had to happen. The Springfield Cardinals took over first place all alone in the Northern Division of the Texas League by beating the Arkansas Travelers 6-1 at Hammons Field in Springfield. With just six more games to play in the first half of the 2008 season, the Cards were a full game up on Arkansas and two games ahead of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Jason Isringhausen, closer for the St. Louis Cardinals who has been on the disabled list since May 16 with a laceration on his right hand, started the game on Wednesday as part of a rehab assignment. Isringhausen and Jess Todd, who relieved Izzy, combined to keep the Travs offense to just one unearned run, on six hits.

Isringhausen worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out two, while throwing 22 pitches. Todd came out of the bullpen and dominated the rest of the game, working the final 7 2/3 innings, giving up only one unearned run on five hits.

After an unearned run in he third put the Travs up 1-0, Mark Hamilton put up a three-run homer off Travs' starter Robert Moseback in the bottom of the second, giving the Cards the lead for good at 3-1. It was Hamilton's seventh home run of the year.

Springfield would get three more in the fourth inning as Casey Rowlett put one into the outfield bullpen to get things started. With the score 4-1, Allen Craig hit a bases-loaded two-run single to make it 6-1.

Todd wound up striking out six and walking only two is his second win of the year for Springfield.

Thursday, June 12

I have racked my brain overnight trying to come up with reasons why the Springfield Cardinals lost Thursday night to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. But, there was just no excuse for the loss. They were in first place with a chance to go two games in front of the Arkansas Travelers. They had an early lead. They were having a fine performance from the mound. They had a closer that had earned 10 saves in 10 tries--oh yeah, that was it. Fernando Salas finally got to see what it feels like to lose. So with that out of the way, Salas and the rest of the Cardinals can finish the last five games of the season without the need to experience anymore negative energy on the field.

Since I can't seem to let the loss pass without throwing daggers of criticism, here is how Mike Lindskog, the voice of the Springfield Cardinals, called the game:

"The Northwest Arkansas Naturals snapped their seven-game losing streak with a 9-6 come-from-behind win over the Springfield Cardinals on Thursday night at Hammons Field.  The loss for Springfield combined with an Arkansas victory over Tulsa puts the Cards and the Travs back into a first-place tie, while the Naturals are just one back in the North. 

"Four runs in the eighth put Northwest Arkansas ahead to stay, while two more in the ninth padded their lead.  Trailing 6-3 in the eighth, the Naturals began their rally against Springfield reliever Marco Gonzalez.  With two on, Brian McFall singled home Kila Kaaihue, making it a two-run game at 6-4.  Cards' closer Fernando Salas, who had recorded ten saves in his last ten appearances, was summoned into the game.  The first batter that Salas faced was Mario Lisson, who delivered a go-ahead three-run homer, as the Naturals took the lead for good at 7-6.

"The Naturals added two more in the ninth against Josh Dew, taking a 9-6 advantage.

"Kila Kaaihue's solo homer put the Naturals up 1-0 against Cards' starter Adam Ottavino. 

"Mark Shorey responded with a two-run homer in the second, his fifth of the year to make it 2-1.  Mark Hamilton made it 4-1 in the third, ripping a two-run blast off Naturals' starter Dan Cortes.

"After Northwest Arkansas scored the next two runs to make it 4-3, Springfield responded with a Tyler Greene homer to lead off the seventh, making it 5-3.  Two batters later, Jon Jay homered to make it 6-3.

"Naturals' reliever Jarod Plummer (1-1) got the win in relief for Northwest Arkansas."


More News

Matt Clement (0-0), who threw for Springfield on Sunday, will make his second rehab appearance on Friday night, as the Cards take on the Naturals and right-hander Julio Pimentel (3-6). 

Mark Mulder will also make a rehab appearance for the Cardinals, as he's slated to go on Saturday, with game time scheduled for 6:10pm. 


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