The Springfield Cardinals Report: 07/11/08

The St. Louis Cardinals Double-A Texas League club went 2-4 on the week as closer Fernando Salas was named to the All-Star Futures Game.

Friday, July 4


Fireworks rained down on the Springfield Cardinals on the Fourth of July, but the celebration was not for the Cards, but for the Frisco RoughRiders who spanked the Springfield Cardinals 8-1 at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas.


Frisco starter Michael Ballard wasn't out there alone on Friday night, as his teammates gave him lots of early support, but he really didn't need much of the help as he carried a shut-out into the ninth inning. Frisco's offense picked up three runs in the second inning and five in the third against Cards starter Adam Daniels, who struggled through three innings.


The RoughRiders capitalized on two wild pitches from Daniels in the second inning. In the third, Frisco put it away by sending nine men to the plate and scoring five times in the inning.  Daniels walked three men in the inning, all of which came back to bite him in the rear by scoring. Tim Gradovilles added to the score with a two-run single to cap the scoring at 8-0 Frisco.


Springfield broke through with one out in the ninth, as Allen Craig's RBI double chased home Jose Martinez and ended Ballard's bid at a complete-game shut-out.  Frisco reliever Brennan Garr came out of the bullpen to record the final two outs.  Ballard (8-3) allowed just one run on six hits over 8 1/3 innings, striking out six.

The Redbirds' bullpen gave them five full innings of scoreless relief, as Kyle Sadlowski and Luke Gregerson went three and two innings respectively, combining to allow just three hits.

Springfield (7-6) wound up a full game back of Tulsa in the North Division of the Texas League, after Friday night's game. 

Saturday, July 5

For the second night in a row, the Frisco RoughRiders got a tremendous outing from their starting pitching. Derek Lee, just signed out of the Mexican League, pitched six innings of shut-out baseball, coming in for a spot appearance after scheduled Frisco starter Thomas Diamond was placed on the disabled list earlier in the day. Lee allowed just two hits in six innings in his first outing in a Texas League uniform, earning his first win in Double-A.

Jess Todd gave up enough to Frisco in the first inning to give them the win, as Julio Borbon opened the game with a double to deep right field, then scored off the next batter, Elvis Andrus' RBI single, giving the RoughRiders a 1-0 lead.

Todd gave up a home run to Bourbon in the sixth, Borbon's first home run since joining the Texas League, making it 2-0. But, Todd could hardly be blamed for this loss on Saturday night. He actually pitched quite well allowing just two runs on three hits across six innings.  The right-hander struck out five RoughRiders and walked just one, throwing 87 pitches.

So if not Todd, who? Springfield did load the bases in the top of the seventh inning against Frisco reliever Alfredo Gonzalez. But Springfield catcher and nephew of former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tom Pagnozzi, Matt Pagnozzi bounced out to end the scoring threat--the best chance Springfield had of scoring all night. Andrew Laughter gave up a lead-off single to Allen Craig to open the ninth, but retired the next three hitters to earn his fifth save of the year. Springfield reliever Justin Flake allowed a solo home run to Dustin Majewski in the seventh inning to make it 3-0 in favor of the RoughRiders.

Springfield (7-7), still just a game back of Tulsa in the North Division, continued their road trip on Sunday night from Midland, in the opening game of the three-game set against the RockHounds.

Sunday, July 6

The Cards snapped their two-game losing streak, defeating the Midland RockHounds 6-4.

Midland took an early lead against Springfield starter Tyler Herron in the second inning, as Jon Zwringue chased Tommy Everidge home with an RBI single, putting the RockHounds ahead 1-0.

In the third, Springfield answered with three runs of their own as Mark Shorey's two-run double brought home Jose Martinez and Allen Craig making it 2-1. That score would jump to 3-1, as Shorey managed to score on an error. The Hounds tied the game in the bottom of the third, as an RBI ground-out from Javier Herrera and an RBI single from Everidge evened the game at 3-3. 

Springfield re-gained the lead in the sixth, when Greene knocked in Brandon Yarbrough with an RBI single, making it 4-3.

Springfield reliever Josh Drew delivered ua wild pitch in the seventh allowing Brian Snyder to score and tie the game at 4-4.

Tied 4-4 in the top of the eighth, Brandon Yarbrough ripped his team-leading fifth triple of the year to center field.  With Tyler Greene at the plate and one out, Yarbrough took off for home as part of an apparent suicide squeeze.  The pitch from Justin Dowdy (1-3) was low and got by Midland catcher Jed Morris, allowing Yarbrough to score uncontested, giving Springfield the lead at 5-4.  Greene would follow with a single and eventually scored from third on Jim Rapoport's sac fly to center field, making it 6-4.

Eventual winner Marco Gonzalez (3-0) got some help in the bottom of the eighth, as with a man aboard, Myron Leslie's deep drive to right field was knocked down at the warning track by 20-mph winds blowing in from right field.  Mark Shorey was there at the wall to make the catch, keeping the Cards up 6-4. 

After 1 2/3 scoreless innings from Gonzalez, Fernando Salas came out of the Springfield bullpen in the ninth and worked a 1-2-3 inning for his league-best 15th save of the year.  

The Cards (8-7) remained just one game back of Tulsa in the North Division Second Half standings.

Monday, July 7

What was a seven-inning pitching duel between the Cardinals and the RockHounds at Citibank Ballpark quickly turned into a slug fest in the eighth, as the Cards scored three times to take a 3-0 lead. But, that lead wouldn't hold as Tommy Everidge tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with a three-run homer off Springfield reliever, Luke Gregerson. Midland would rally again in the tenth inning, but Springfield would hold on to a one-run lead in the 12th, to win their second straight.

Jose Martinez led off the eighth with a double against Midland reliever Jose Garcia.  After a walk to Allen Craig, Midland catcher Anthony Recker let a pitch go off his glove to the backstop, allowing runners to move up to second and third.  Brown followed with a sac fly to center field, putting Springfield in front 1-0.  Mark Shorey followed with a two-run blast into the Midland bullpen, making it 3-0.

After Midland tied the score in the bottom of the eighth, the game went into extra innings. Redbirds' reliever Fernando Salas came out of the bullpen to close it down in the tenth, but was greeted with a lead-off double from Everidge.  A sac bunt from Recker moved Everidge to third base.  Salas hit John Zeringue to put runners at first and third with only one out.  Myron Leslie followed with a sharp grounder to second baseman Jose Martinez.  Rather than start the game-ending double play, Martinez hesitated and eventually threw home to catcher Matt Pagnozzi.  Everidge slid around Pagnozzi's tag, as Midland tied the game at 4-4. 

Brown led off an eventful 12th inning with the decisive homer, but that wasn't the only drama in the inning.  With a runner at first and two outs, Andrew Carignan appeared to get Matt Pagnozzi on an 0-2 pitch that looked like it caught the outside corner for strike three.  After the pitch was called a ball by the home plate umpire, Midland Manager Webster Garrison argued from the dugout and was immediately ejected.  After shooting out of the dugout to protest the call, Garrison covered home plate with dirt and then headed to the clubhouse.  Pagnozzi eventually walked to put runners at first and second.  Casey Rowlett followed with a line drive to left-center field.  Midland center-fielder Todd Donovan made an amazing diving grab to end the inning, keeping the Springfield lead at 5-4. 

Marco Gonzalez, who earned the victory on Sunday night, picked up the save on Monday, working a 1-2-3 12th inning for his second save of the year. Cards' starter Adam Ottavino allowed just five hits over six scoreless frames in the well-pitched no-decision. 

Springfield ended the game with a record of 3-2 through the first five games of their six-game road trip, after winning two straight in Midland.

Tuesday, July 8

The Cardinals barely missed sweep of the RockHounds, losing the final game of a three game series, 2-0.

Midland's starting pitcher James Simmons carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Springfield starter Kyle Mura also pitched another solid game allowing only two runs on six hits over six innings, striking out three with no walks. It was Mura's second straight game in which he did not issue a walk.

In the first inning, Jon Zerigues two-out single scored Aaron Cunningham to give Midland a 1-0 lead. The score remained 1-0 until the sixth inning when Midland got their only other run--a triple off the bat of lead=off batter, Aaron Cunningham. Tommy Everidge then hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Cunningham, making it 2-0. Scott Vander Weg and Kyle Sadlowski combined for two scoreless innings to keep the game within reach, but the Cards only had four baserunners all night. 

Allen Craig's two-out double in the ninth off Midland reliever Steven Sharpe brought the tying run to the plate.  Mark Shorey saw just one pitch though, grounding out to short to end the game. 

The double for Craig extended his hitting streak to 13 straight games, the longest for any Cardinal player this year. 

The Cardinals returned to Springfield after a day off on Wednesday, to face the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Thursday, July 10

With the Cardinals leading 9-6 in the top of the ninth inning, the rally heard 'round the ballpark Thursday night at Hammons Field was--"Come on guys, let's go, the Cards have this one sewed up." But, it turned out to be a long drive home for anyone tuning into the game, as the Northwest Arkansas Travelers  scored five times to beat the home town crowd, 11-10.

Cardinals closer Fernando Salas gave up a three-run homer to Kila Kaaihue, his league-leading 23rd of the season, to cap the scoring and give the Naturals their fifth win in a row and handing the Cards their second straight loss, knocking them back to third place in the Northern Division of the Texas League.

Springfield threatened in the bottom of the ninth, getting an RBI single with two outs from Tyler Greene, chasing home Jose Martinez to make it 11-10.  Pinch-hitter Isa Garcia flew out deep to center field on the first pitch from left-hander Tim Hamulack, ending the game. 

It was a see-saw game from the get-go as Springfield took a 2-0 lead in the first as Allen Craig extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a two-run homer to center field, his 14th of the year. 

The Naturals came back with one run in the second and three in the fourth against Springfield starter Jess Todd.  Irving Falu's' two-run single gave Northwest Arkansas a 4-2 lead in the fourth.

Matt Pagnozzi's two-run double tied the game in the fourth, but Northwest Arkansas quickly reclaimed the lead in the fifth, as Juan Richardson's two-run single against Todd chased the right-hander and gave the Naturals a 6-4 lead. 

With Allen Craig aboard, the Cards tied the score in the bottom of the fifth, when first-baseman Andrew Brown homered off Northwest Arkansas starter Rowdy Hardy.

In the sixth, the Cards extended their lead as Rapoport tripled home a pair of runs, then scored on a Jose Martinez sac fly.

Salas (4-2), who gave up a two-run homer to McFall as well as Kaaihue's three-run shot in the ninth, took the loss, working just 2/3 of an inning. 

Springfield (9-9) looks to end their brief two-game skid, sending Adam Daniels (1-3) to the mound on Friday night against Naturals' right-hander Blake Johnson (7-6). 

In Other Springfield News:

Former Springfield Cardinals left hander Jamie Garcia has been added to the St. Louis Cardinals roster. Garcia is expected to work in relief, filing the left-handed void in the St. Louis bullpen. Upon making his appearance, Garcia would become the 14th former Springfield Cardinal to make his major league debut with St. Louis. Garcia would be the first former Springfield Cardinal to play for Springfield in the same season he makes his major league debut in St. Louis. For Springfield, Garcia was 3-2 with a 2.06 ERA is six starts. With Triple-A Memphis, Garcia went 4-4 with a 4.59 ERA in 12 starts.


Springfield reliever Fernando Salas has been added to the World Roster for the Futures Game on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Salas will join Jess Todd, as well as former Springfield Cardinal Bryan Anderson, named to the US Roster. Both Todd and Salas will miss Saturday, Sunday and Monday action for Springfield.


In Other Texas League News:

Jon Jay, Springfield Cardinals outfielder, was named Topps Player for the Month of June. Jay's efforts in June were a major reason why the Cardinals finished the month with an 18-8 mark.

During the past month, Jay led all Texas Leaguers with a .385 batting average. The former University of Miami star also tied Brian Stavisky and Chris Johnson for the most total bases with 61.


In 26 games, Jay showed off a diverse set of skills in which he clubbed six homers, drove in 19 runs, stole four bases, and scored 22 runs. The center fielder demonstrated he can be a thumper who hits the long ball or a leadoff-style hitter that sets the table.


Jay's torrid hitting raised his season batting average by 24 points to a .316 mark when the month concluded.


In Springfield's 15-4 rout of Arkansas on June 18, Jay went 4-for-6, with a homer, five RBIs, two runs scored, and a stolen base.


Jay was also named Texas League Player of the Week for the period of June 2 through 8 after he led the circuit with 12 hits and a 1.413 OPS. The Texas League All-Star led his club to two victories that week with two late-inning homers.


In 305 at-bats this season, Jay is batting .311, with 11 round-trippers, 44 RBIs and eight steals.


On Thursday, Jay missed his seventh straight game with Springfield due to a strained muscle in his left shoulder. Jay injured the shoulder swinging at a breaking ball from Midland's Andrew Carignan on July 1, at Hammons Field. His status remains day-to-day.



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