The Springfield Cardinals Report: 07/18/08

It has been another crazy week in Springfield Cardinal Country. Everything from a walk-off home run to an opponent grand slam to a double-header sweep to catchers being named the winning pitcher and the losing pitcher in the same game.

On Friday, the Springfield Cardinals defeated the Northwest Arkansas Naturals at Hammons Field, 4-2, with a walk-off home run from Allen Craig, giving him a team-high 15-game hitting streak. Going into the ninth, with the score tied at 2-2, Craig was 0-for-4 at the plate with his streak in jeopardy. Kyle Crist, Naturals' reliever, opened the bottom of the ninth by hitting Tyler Greene in the back. Jose Martinez laid down a perfect bunt to move Greene into scoring position. Then Craig belted his 15th homer of the year, plating himself and Martinez, to give the Cards the victory.


Matt Pagnozzi also homered, sending a long-ball over the left-field fence, to cut the Naturals lead to 2-1. Northwest Arkansas had scored in the first inning on former Springfield Cardinal Juan Richardson's two-run home run. Tyler Greene also hit his 11th homer of the season to tie the game in the fifth.


The game remained tied, thanks to some strong pitching.  Starter Adam Daniels got into some two-out trouble in the fifth, leaving with the bases loaded.  Josh Dew, who retired all four hitters he faced over 1 1/3 scoreless innings, retired Ed Lucas on a grounder to get out of the jam.  Marco Gonzalez and Luke Gregerson combined for three scoreless frames behind Dew, with Gregerson (5-5) getting the win.

Naturals starter Blake Johnson allowed ten hits over 6 1/3 innings, but yielded only two runs in the no-decision.

On Saturday, the Cards lost to Northwest Arkansas 5-4, even though Tyler Greene had a career-night for the Cards. Greene led off the first inning with a home run, and hit another in the third, his 13th of the year, to give the Cards a 2-0 lead.

With Casey Rowlett at first with a one-out single in the fifth, Greene struck again, this time with an RBI triple to right field, making it a 3-0 game.  Jose Martinez scored Greene from third with a sac fly to left-center field, making it 4-0. 

But, Northwest Arkansas kept picking away at the Cards, piece by piece. Cards starter Tyler Herron was solid through five innings, but got taken deep in the sixth, as the Naturals got a two-run homer from Ed Lucas, cutting Springfield's lead to 4-2.  Those were the only two runs Herron allowed, as he worked 5 2/3 innings, surrendering two runs on four hits in the no-decision. 

Jose Duarte homered to left in the seventh off Jon Mikrut making it a 4-3 game. A two-run eighth inning, highlighted by a steal of home as part of a double-steal for the Naturals, was the difference in the game. 

Trailing 4-3 in the top of the eighth, Naturals catcher Adam Donachie took Cards reliever Scott Vander Weg (1-1) deep with two outs in the inning, tying the game at 4-4.    Jose Duarte followed with a single, then stole second to move into scoring position.  Irving Falu then struck out on a pitch in the dirt, which bounced wildly away from catcher Matt Pagnozzi.  Falu reached first safely on the wild pitch, while Duarte advanced to third.  With Mario Lisson at the plate, Falu intentionally got hung up between first and second.  After checking on Duarte at third, catcher Matt Pagnozzi threw down to second baseman Jose Martinez.  Duarte broke for home on the throw to second and scored ahead of Pagnozzi's tag, after Martinez's return throw to the plate. 

Allen Craig was unable to set a record, as he saw his 15-game hit streak come to an end with an 0-for-4 effort.  Craig and Aaron Herr (2005) are the only Cardinals in franchise history to hit in 15 straight games.

Sunday's game got off to a rotten start, as Richardson hit a grand-slam, his second homer of the four-game series, off Cards' starter Adam Ottavino.

After a lead-off single, Ottavino walked the next three hitters, including a bases-loaded walk, to make it 1-0.  Richardson followed with his eighth homer of the year, third against his former team, making it 5-0 after just a half-inning.

Springfield countered with two in the bottom of the second.  With runners at first and third and one out, Mark Shorey's ground ball to second base was thrown into left-center field, allowing Allen Craig to score from third, making it 5-1.  Casey Rowlett followed with an RBI single, plating Andrew Brown to make it 5-2. 

After a Naturals tally, Springfield got one back in the fifth, making it 6-3 when Tyler Greene scored from third on a wild pitch. 

In the eighth, Springfield pulled to within two, as Cody Haerther's hard liner was mishandled by right fielder Irving Falu.  Andrew Brown followed with a two-out double, bringing in Haerther to make it 6-4.

The Redbirds threatened in the ninth, but could only manage one run.  Rowlett opened to walk the inning and pinch-hitter Matt Pagnozzi followed with a double, putting runners at second and third and no outs.  Greene followed with a ground ball to short.  On the play, Rowlett scored to make it 6-5, but Pagnozzi got hung up between second and third and was tagged out.  After Jose Martinez flew out to center for the second out, Jon Jay was hit by a pitch, moving Greene up to second base.  Allen Craig, who ended Friday's game with a walk-off homer, lined out to center field to end the ninth.

Ottavino (1-5) was hit with the loss, allowing six runs on five hits over six innings. 

On Monday, the Cards found themselves playing a double-header with Tulsa at Drillers Stadium. The Cards managed to sweep the double-header, winning the first game 4-2 and the second 7-3, in 13 innings.

The Cards and Drillers went a season-long four hours and twenty-four minutes in game two, as Springfield broke through with four runs in the top of the 13th inning.  By the time it was all said and done, both teams had catchers on the hill, doing the pitching. 

Springfield used six pitchers in the second game of the double-header, before catcher Matt Pagnozzi (1-0) became the seventh, going the final 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the victory. 

Andrew Brown broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI double, knocking in Cody Haerther in the 13th to make it 4-3.  With the bases loaded, Pagnozzi delivered the back-breaker, a three-run double to make it 7-3 against Tulsa catcher Brian Esposito (0-1), who was working his fourth inning in relief. 

Pagnozzi worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 13th, finishing the night with just one hit allowed, while striking out two batters in his 2 1/3 innings. 

Jon Jay, Cody Haerther and Brandon Yarbrough all had three hits for Springfield in game two. 

Kyle Mura (2-1) came within one out of a complete-game seven-inning victory in game one.  Leading 4-2 in the seventh, Mura gave up a two-out walk, then a single.  Luke Gregerson came out of the bullpen and threw just one pitch, earning his ninth save of the year by getting Dexter Fowler to ground out. 

Springfield trailed 2-0 after one inning, but got even in the second against Drillers starter Xavier Cedeno (7-7).  Allen Craig led off the second with a homer, his 16th, making it 2-1.  Cody Haerther picked up a one-out single, then scored on an error, tying the game at 2-2. 

Springfield took the lead for good in the fourth, as Mark Shorey brought home Matt Pagnozzi with an RBI double, making it 3-2. 

Allen Craig delivered an RBI single with two outs in the seventh, giving the Cards some insurance at 4-2. 

The double-header sweep for Springfield ended a two-game losing streak.  The Cards moved their second-half record to 12-11, just one game behind the Drillers and Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the North Division. 

On Tuesday, the Drillers put it to the Cardinals 14-2, dropping Springfield to two full games back of division leading Tulsa. The Cards second half season record stood at 12-12 while Tulsa held onto a 14-10 record in the second half.

A lack of available arms in the Springfield bullpen forced Cards starter Kyle Sadlowski to remain in the game, despite his ineffectiveness on Tuesday night.  Sadlowski (2-1), who has been very solid for Springfield since being called up from Palm Beach, allowed ten runs on 11 hits over just 4 2/3 innings in suffering his first loss of the year.

The Drillers got four in the third to jump out to a 5-0 lead, as Brian Esposito's two-run single with two outs capped the inning.

Springfield took advantage of an error in the fourth, getting their first run.  Cody Haerther reached on a ball off the glove of first baseman Jeff Kindel.  Mark Shorey followed with an RBI double, plating Haerther to make it 5-1.

The Tulsa bats got busy again though, scoring three in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a commanding 10-1 lead. 

The Cards got their final run in the sixth, as Jon Jay singled and later scored on a Shorey RBI single, making it 10-2. 

Wednesday saw Springfield beat Tulsa 4-3 at Drillers Stadium.

The Cards took an early lead, getting a run in the second and another in the third against former St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Kip Wells.  Shorey doubled and scored on Isa Garcia's RBI single in the second, putting Springfield up 1-0.  Jon Jay singled and eventually scored from third on Shorey's sac fly in the third inning, as the Cards took a 2-0 lead. 

Tulsa got even in the bottom of the inning against Springfield starter Adam Daniels.  Tony Blanco's two-run double brought home Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler to tie the game at 2-2. 

Tulsa broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning, getting a run off eventual winner Marco Gonzalez (4-0) in controversial fashion.  Gonzalez gave up a lead-off double to Eric Young, Jr, who moved to third on a sac bunt.  Brian Esposito followed with a fly ball to right field.  Mark Shorey made the catch and fired a two-hop strike to the plate, where Matt Pagnozzi appeared to block the on-coming Young from scoring.  Home plate umpire Mike Jarboe called Young safe though, prompting Springfield Manager Pop Warner to burst out of the dugout and argue the call, as Tulsa took a 3-2 lead. 

But, in the top of the ninth, down to their final strike, Springfield's Shorey delivered a two-run single to center field, plating Tyler Greene and Jon Jay, as the Cards took the lead for good against Tulsa reliever Casey Weathers.  Weathers opened the ninth by getting Allen Craig to ground out, but then walked Tyler Greene.  Jay followed with a single to left, moving Greene to second.  Weathers recovered to fan Cody Haerther for the second out, but followed up by hitting Andrew Brown, loading the bases for Shorey.

In the bottom of the ninth, Cards closer Fernando Salas allowed a lead-off single and a one-out walk, but struck out Tony Blanco for out number two and then got Jeff Dragicevich to fly out to Shorey to end it.  The save for Salas is his league-leading 16th of the year. 

Daniels pitched into the sixth, allowing two runs on two hits over 5 2/3 innings.  The left-hander struck out three and walked five, leaving in a 2-2 tie.

On Thursday, Springfield tied a season-high with four home runs, defeating Tulsa by a final score of 7-2 at Drillers Stadium.  The win for Springfield gave them four of five over Tulsa in the series, as the Redbirds finish with a 13-3 record at Drillers Stadium in 2008.

Tulsa starter Chaz Roe gave up home-runs to Allen Craig (17), Tyler Greene (14), Andrew Brown (7) and Jose Martinez (6), as he surrendered seven runs on nine hits in just five innings. 

Craig blasted a two-run bomb to left in the first inning, opening the scoring at 2-0. The Drillers got a run back in the bottom of the second inning, as Eric Young Jr. bunted his way aboard, stole second, then scored on an RBI single from Eddie Cornejo, making it 2-1. 

Greene popped a solo shot to open the third, giving the Cards a 3-1 advantage.

Brown went long with Mark Shorey aboard to get the fourth inning started, as Springfield took a 5-1 lead.  Martinez followed two batters later with a solo-shot, making it 6-1.

The Cardinals capped their scoring in the fifth, as Shorey delivered an RBI double, plating Cody Haerther from first base to give the Cards a 7-1 lead. 

Tulsa got the game's final run in the bottom of the fifth, an unearned run against starter Tyler Herron, making it 7-2. After Herron was removed after six innings, Josh Dew and Justin Fiske combined to work three scoreless frames, allowing just a hit and a walk. 

Herron (5-4) allowed two runs, only one earned, on five hits in his six innings. 

Looking ahead

Right-hander Chris Carpenter, who missed most of the 2007 season and all of the 2008 season so far, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment this Sunday.  "Carp" is scheduled to start for the Springfield Cardinals at Hammons Field, as they take on the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in game three of the seven-game home stand.

The 2005 National League Cy Young Award Winner had Tommy John surgery last season on his right elbow and has not pitched since.

Game time on Sunday against the Kansas City Royals Double-A affiliate is 6:10 p.m. and gates open at 5:10 p.m.  

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