The Springfield Cardinals Report: 08/01/08

Daryl Jones made his first week in Double-A a positive one for the Texas League Cardinals, who went 2-5 on the week overall.

Take heart, Springfield Cardinals fans! Though the Cards are four games out of first place, they could come back and win it all. And though, it seems as likely as lightning striking twice in the same spot, even that is possible. Last week, I was unable to submit a report because for the second time this season, my modem took a direct lightning hit and knocked me completely out of the game. So if lighting can strike twice at my place--why can't it do the same in Springfield?


Friday, July 25


There was no second lighting strike on Friday, as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals beat the Cardinals 2-1 at Arvest Park in Springdale, Arkansas. The loss dropped the Cards record to 19-15 for the second half of the season, knocking them out of first place and putting them a full game back of the Naturals, who held a record of 20-14.


The first inning showed promise of a storm brewing, as Springfield managed to load the bases with only one out, but they couldn't blow in a run. However, the Naturals scored a run in the first off Kyle Mura, who appeared for his fifth time in a Springfield uniform, and ultimately suffered the loss. Mura gave up a two-out single to Kila Kaaihue, who has simply dominated the Cards this season, producing an RBI as Jose Duarte was chased home, putting Northwest Arkansas up 1-0.


Springfield got the equalizer in the third, as Isa Garcia delivered a one-out single to right field with the bases loaded, scoring Tyler Greene to tie the game at 1-1.  After Garcia's hit though, Springfield failed again to bring anyone home with the bases loaded and only one out.

Kaaihue struck again in the bottom of the third.  Irving Falu got the rally started with a one-out double, then scored on Kaaihue's RBI single, as the Naturals took the lead for good at 2-1.

Springfield put the lead-off man aboard in five of the nine innings, but scored only the one run.

Tyler Greene extended his franchise-record hitting streak to 17 games, finishing the night with a game-high four hits. 

Saturday, July 26


What is it about former Cardinals? Anyone remember Steve Carlton? Well in Springfield, former Springfield Cardinal Juan Richardson is the bane as he proved Saturday night in Springdale, as he snapped a 2-2 tie in the eighth, with an RBI single, driving home the winning run to beat the Cards 3-2.  It was a line-drive with two outs from Richardson that did it. Richardson hit the game winner off Fernando Salas to score Adam Donachie from second.


The Cards got on the board against Naturals' starter Julio Pimentel in the third, as Jon Jay and Allen Craig picked up RBI hits for a 2-0 lead. 

Cards' starter Justin Fiske was strong, but allowed a pair of runs in the fourth, as the Naturals tied the game at 2-2.  Fiske was removed after walking a two-out batter in the fifth.  Scott Vander Weg retired Marc Maddox though, getting Fiske off the hook and forcing him to settle for a no-decision.  Fiske allowed just two runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings. 

Isa Garcia earned a one-out walk in the ninth, but Tyler Greene struck out and Jon Jay grounded into a fielder's choice to end the game. Greene finished 3-for-5, extending his hitting streak to a franchise-best 18 straight games. 

The Cardinals fell to two back of the Naturals with two games yet to play in the four-game series. 

Sunday, July 27

The third time is not always the charm as the Cardinals learned on Sunday, as the Naturals beat them 11-7.  Once again Kila Kaaihue put it to the Cards, launching his league-leading 26th homer of the season, and drove in five runs on the night. He started his tremendous game in the first inning by hitting a two-run single off starter Tyler Herron. He struck again in the fourth inning, at a time when Springfield led the game 6-4, smacking a 3-0 pitch over the right-field wall to put the Naturals in the lead, 7-6.

Northwest Arkansas took a 3-0 first-inning lead. Springfield came roaring back with six in the second, as Isa Garcia smashed a grand slam to give Springfield a 4-3 lead.  The home run for Garcia was his fourth of the year and the third grand slam for Springfield this season.  Brandon Yarbrough followed with a solo shot to make it 5-3, his third of the year.  Allen Craig's sac fly scored Matt Pagnozzi (nephew of former St. Louis Cardinals' catcher Tom Pagnozzi) from third to cap the six-run inning, making it a 6-3 lead.

Cory Aldridge popped a three-run homer to right field against Cards' reliever Adam Daniels in the sixth, as the Naturals took a 10-6 lead.

Springfield loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but settled for only a Jon Jay sac fly, scoring Isa Garcia to make it 10-7. 

Irving Falu capped the scoring in the bottom of the eighth, homering off Luke Gregerson to make it 11-7.

Springfield now found themselves three games back of the Naturals and looking to face them again on Monday, hoping to avoid a sweep of the four-game series.

Monday, July 28

The brooms came out in Springdale, Arkansas, on Monday night as Northwest Arkansas handed Springfield their fourth loss in a row, sweeping the four-game series at Arvest Ballpark. The Naturals (23-14) were four games up on the Redbirds (19-18) in the North Division of the Texas League.

The Naturals rolled to a 10-4 win, giving Jess Todd (3-5) his second straight loss, on eight runs on eight hits over five innings.

Mario Lisson hit his second grand-slam homer of the year against Springfield. The bases-loaded home run came in the second inning, giving the Naturals a 4-0 lead. Lisson had a career-night, with two homers and a triple, driving in six runs on the game.

The Cardinals didn't go down without giving it a good effort. Allen Craig ripped his team-leading 19th of the year to open the fourth, making it 4-1. Jim Rapoport cracked his first Double-A homer to bring the Cards to within a run, making it 4-3 in the fifth.

Kila Kaaihue, who was promoted to Triple-A Omaha immediately after the game, responded in the bottom of the inning, as the Naturals blew it open.  Kaaihue ripped an RBI double to make it 5-3.  Former Cardinal Juan Richardson, another bane in the Cardinals' side, who had a four-hit game, followed with a two-run homer, giving the Naturals a 7-3 lead.  Lisson followed two batters later with a solo shot to make it 8-3. 

Lisson struck again in the seventh against Cards' reliever Marco Gonzalez, ripping an RBI triple off the top of the center field wall to make it 9-3.  Lisson capped the inning at 10-3, scoring on an RBI groundout off the bat of Ovandy Suero

The Redbirds got their final run in the ninth inning, as Brandon Yarbrough plated Daryl Jones with an RBI single, making it a 10-4 game.

The Cardinals moved down the state of Arkansas to Little Rock to take on the Arkansas Travelers in a three-game series that began on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, July 29

Five straight losses on the road, and except for an outstanding performance by a newly acquired outfielder to the Springfield Cardinals line-up, the Arkansas Travelers completely embarrassed the Cards in an 8-2 slapping at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, Arkansas, on Tuesday night.

Daryl Jones, recently promoted from Palm Beach, was the one and only saving grace in the punishing loss. Jones, who smashed a two-out homer in the fourth inning, went 3-for-4 on the night, finishing a triple shy of the cycle.

Arkansas capitalized on back-to-back walks issued by Cards' starter Adam Ottavino in the first, taking an early 2-0 lead. The Travelers continued to pour it on with three in the second to make it a 5-0 game.

Jones' homer, his eighth of the year, but first in a Springfield uniform, made it 5-1 in the fourth, but the Travs put it away in the bottom of the inning. Cards starter Adam Ottavino allowed Adam Greenberg to reach on a throwing error, then gave up back-to-back hits to Coby Smith and Nate SuttonCorey Smith followed by lining a pitch off Ottavino's upper body.  A run would score on the play with the end result being Ottavino's removal.  Arkansas tallied three times in the inning to take a commanding 8-1 lead.

Springfield capped the scoring in the ninth.  With Allen Craig at third base and two outs, Jones dribbled an infield single to bring Craig home to make it an 8-2 game.

Ottavino (2-6) allowed eight runs on the night, five earned, on eight base hits in the loss.

Wednesday, July 30

Finally the losing streak came to an end Wednesday night as the Cardinals beat the Travelers 3-2 in a come-from-behind victory.

Springfield starter Kyle Mura pitched well, but gave up a key hit in the second inning as Mark Trumbo hit a lead off home run to put the Travs up 1-0. A two-base throwing error in the third inning would allow Adam Greenberg to reach base and later be driven home on a sac fly from Nate Sutton to give Arkansas a 2-0 lead.

That lead held up until the eighth inning when Daryl Jones opened the inning by getting hit by Travs' reliever Francisco Rodriguez (2-3).  After Isa Garcia reached on a fielder]s choice, Mark Shorey reached on a bunt single, putting the tying runs at first and second.  Jose Martinez followed with a single to left, loading the bases for Yarbrough, who followed with a two-run single to right field.

Tied 2-2 in the ninth, Andrew Brown reached on a throwing error to open the inning.  After a wild pitch moved Brown to second, Daryl Jones reached with a one-out infield single, sending Brown to third base.  Garcia stepped to the plate and delivered a fly ball to right field, scoring Brown from third with what turned out to be the winning run.

Mura left after the sixth inning, and Fernando Salas came out of the bullpen and worked a scoreless ninth, maneuvering around a leadoff single from Chris Pettit.  Salas got pinch hitter Corey Smith to fly out to center field to end the game, giving Salas his league-leading 19th save of the season. Cards' reliever Luis Perdomo (1-0), in just his second game since coming over from Cleveland in the Anthony Reyes trade, worked two scoreless innings for the win. 

Thursday, July 31

The Cardinals put it to the Travelers on Thursday night, as they blanked them 7-0 to end their seven-game, week-long road trip with a 2-5 record.

The victory was due in large part to the fine pitching from Justin Fiske, who pitched seven shut-out innings. Fiske earned his first win of the year in a Springfield uniform, allowing just one hit and one walk over seven frames.  Flint Wipke led off the sixth inning with a single to left field, breaking up Fiske's no-hit bid, but Fiske (1-0) was in total command all night, fanning a season-high nine batters, lowering his ERA to 3.00. 

Springfield had a very productive third inning as Brandon Yarbrough scored on a triple from Jim Rapoport. Travs' starter Fernando Rodriguez (5-10) then walked Allen Craig and Daryl Jones, loading the bases. Isa Garcia came to the plate and hit a two-run single to right field, putting the Cards up 3-0.

A costly error by Travs' third baseman Corey Smith led to four unearned runs in the fifth.  Smith's fielding error with two outs and the bases loaded allowed Andrew Brown to score, making it 4-0.  Yarbrough was then hit by a pitch, the third batter in the inning to be hit by Rodriguez, forcing in another run to make it 5-0.  Casey Rowlett followed with a two-run single, capping the score at 7-0.  

The Travs loaded the bases in the eighth, taking advantage of a Cardinals error and two base hits, but Luke Gregerson was able to work around the trouble, leaving the bases loaded. Gregerson also tossed a scoreless ninth, working around another error and a single, completing Springfield's sixth shutout of the year. 

Looking ahead

Springfield (21-19) is now four games back of Northwest Arkansas in the North Division and will send Brandon Dickson (0-0) to the mound in his first Double-A start on Friday night as the Cards return to Hammons Field to face the Tulsa Drillers, who will counter with Ching-Lung Lo (8-8).

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