The Springfield Cardinals Report: 07/04/08

The St. Louis Cardinals' Double-A club is tied for the second-half lead in the Texas League's Northern Division.

Sunday, June 29


It took 10 innings and a single hit, but the Springfield Cardinals finally pulled themselves over the .500 mark and into a tie with the Tulsa Drillers for first place in the Texas League Northern Division last Sunday. After a nine-inning pitching duel and the score tied 0-0, Casey Rowlett stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning and ripped a pitch into the left-center field gap, just out of the reach of the Midland RockHound's center-fielder, Aaron Cunningham, to drive in Jose Martinez from second base. It was the only run of the game and gave the Cards a win, their second straight at home.


In the 10th inning, Martinez drew a walk to open the inning, then Jon Jay laid down a perfect bunt up the first-base line to move Martinez to second. Allen Craig followed with a strike out, and Mark Hamilton popped up for the second out. Rowlett, who came on as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning, followed with the game-winning hit in his only at-bat of the night--the only one the!  Cards needed.


The offense was practically nil, as the game was dominated by pitching. Springfield starter, Jess Todd, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.   Jed Morris broke up the "no-hitter" with a double off the top of the wall in right-center field to open the sixth.  After moving to third on a bunt, Morris was stranded, as Todd got Todd Donovan to pop up and Justin Sellers to ground out to end the inning. 


Todd allowed just two total hits over eight scoreless frames.  The right-hander fanned ten men, tying a Springfield franchise record. Midland right-hander Vincent Mazzaro allowed just six hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings.  Mazzaro struck out six and didn't't walk a batter in lowering his league-leading ERA to just 2.18. Springfield reliever Luke Gregerson (4-4) worked two innings of scoreless relief on Sunday to pick up the win. 


The Cardinals were 5-4 in the second half of the season and in a tie for first place in the Texas League Northern Division.


Monday, June 30


The Springfield Cardinals won a close one on Monday, beating the Midland RockHounds 5-4 on Monday night at Hammons Field--their third in a row, all against Midland. It was a beautiful sight from the seats and the press box as the Springfield Cardinals, trailing 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, scored four times to take the lead, and then held off a ninth inning rally by the RockHounds.


In the bottom of the seventh, Allen Craig's three-run double made the difference. Tyler Greene opened the inning with his third hit of the game. Jim Rapoport walked with one out, pushing Greene to second. Jose Martinez followed with a game-tying single, scoring Greene to even the game at 2-2.  After an intentional walk to Jon Jay, Craig delivered with one of his biggest hits of the year, a three-run double over the head of center-fielder Aaron Cunningham, putting Springfield in front 5-2 against Midland reliever Chris Farley (2-1).


The Cards would need every last run, as Fernando Salas worked a scoreless eighth, but gave up a two-run blast to Javier Herrera with one out in the ninth.  Herrera's first home run of the year made it a one-run game at 5-4.  Salas recovered to retire the next two hitters, including a strike out of Michael Affronti to end the game, giving Salas his 13th save of the year. Marco Gonzalez (2-0) picked up the win out of the Springfield bullpen, fanning two in two perfect innings. 

Springfield had an early lead, as Greene's first of three hits chased home Andrew Brown in the second, giving the Cards a 1-0 lead.

Midland got two in the third against Springfield starter Kyle Sadlowski.  Aaron Cunningham''s two-run double brought home Affronti and Justin Sellers, giving Midland a 2-1 advantage. 

Sadlowski pitched well in the no-decision, allowing two runs on five hits over five innings. Springfield (6-4), remained in first place in the North Division, and would wrap up their six-game home stand against Midland on Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 1

The Springfield Cardinals failed to sweep the Midland RockHounds in the three-game series, losing to the RockHounds, 8-7 in extra innings. Jon Zeringue's two-run homer tied the game in the ninth and Javier Herrera's bases-loaded infield single drove home the eventual game-winner in the tenth. 

Springfield's Allen Craig and Midland's Aaron Cunningham traded offensive blows early. Craig and Cunningham each hit two home runs. It was Craig's second two-home run game this season, giving him 13 for the year. For Cunningham, it was his first, giving him seven for the season.

Springfield broke a 5-5 tie in the seventh, as Craig drew a bases-loaded walk, forcing home Jim Rapoport to make it 6-5.

Matt Pagnozzi added to the Cards lead in the eighth inning, as he laid-down a suicide bunt that was mishandled by Midland catcher Anthony Recker, allowing Isa Garcia to score and give Springfield a 7-5 lead.

Luke Gregerson came out of the Springfield bullpen to hold the lead in the ninth, but hit Recker with the first pitch of the inning.  After Recker was forced at second base on a ground ball by Herrera, Zeringue belted his 13th homer of the year to center field, a two-run shot to tie the game at 7-7. Gregerson (4-5) allowed a one-out walk to Justin Sellers and then a double to Aaron Cunningham, putting runners at second and third with only one out. 

After an intentional walk to Tommy Everidge, Josh Dew was brought out of the Springfield pen.  Dew fanned Recker on three pitches, but allowed an infield single to Herrera, which brought home Sellers from third, putting the Hounds in front for good at 8-7. 

Midland closer Andrew Carignan (3-2), who worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings on the night, put the Cards down in order in the tenth for the win. 

The Cardinals remained tied with the Tulsa Drillers for first place in the Northern Division of the Texas League. Springfield took Wednesday off before heading to Frisco, Texas, to open a six-game road trip.

Thursday, July 3

The Cardinals ended the week on a high note, beating the Frisco RoughRiders 7-3, at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, retaining a share of first place in the Northern Division of the Texas League.

Kyle Mura, making his Double-A debut, won the game for Springfield and Jose Martinez drove in five runs. Mura, now 1-0, pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits in his first appearance since being called up from Palm Beach. A 42nd round draft pick in 2006, the right-handed Mura struck out two and walked none.

Jose Martinez had three hits and five RBIs, including his fifth homer of the year, a three-run shot in the fourth to put Springfield up 7-0.

In the first inning, Martinez got his first of three hits, including his fifth home run of the season, a single that drove in Jim Rapoport, then he scored on a sac fly off the bat of Mark Shorey, making it 2-0 Springfield. Martinez came through again in the second, singling home Casey Rowlett from third to give the Cards a 3-0 lead.

Shorey, who had three hits on the night and two RBIs, hit his seventh home run of the year in the third inning to increase Springfield's lead to 4-0.

Martinez blasted a three-run line drive into the left-field seats in the fourth inning to put Springfield ahead 7-0.

After a couple of trips to the mound and some nail-biting, manager Ron "Pop" Warner replaced Mura on the hill with reliever Scott Vander Weg who gave up an RBI single to Ben Harrison. He then drove in Elvis Andrus from second, making the score 7-1.

The RoughRiders got two in the bottom of the ninth against Josh Dew, tightening it to 7-3.  With two on and two away, Fernando Salas was called upon to face All-Star Game MVP Steve Murphy, who flew out to the warning track to end the game, giving Salas his league-best 14th save of the year. 

Looking ahead

The Cards will look to make it two straight over Frisco on Friday night, sending Adam Daniels (1-2) to the mound against Frisco left-hander Michael Ballard (7-3).


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