The Springfield Cardinals Report: 08/15/08

The St. Louis Cardinals Double-A affiliate remain four games back with 18 to go as playoff hopes dim.

With 18 games left to play on the season, the prospects for the Springfield Cardinals to make post-season play are growing dimmer by the moment. Giving up ninth inning leads and squandering men on base kept the Cards four games back in the standings this week.

Friday, August 8

On Friday night, the Cardinals allowed the San Antonio Missions to score four times in their final at-bat, letting another apparent win slip through their gloves. The Missions' 4-3 victory prevented the Cards from claiming a sweep of the three-game series.

Colt Morton's RBI single off Josh Dew completed a four-run ninth inning, as San Antonio ended their own seven-game losing streak, snapping Springfield's three-game winning streak in the process.

Leading 3-0 in the ninth, Luke Gregerson (6-6) came out of the Springfield bullpen, after Luis Perdomo replaced starter Jess Todd in the eighth, pitching a perfect inning. But Gregerson struggled--to say the least.  Gregerson allowed back-to-back hits, followed by a walk, then loaded the bases with no outs for Kyle Blanks.  Gregerson got Blanks to pop up to Jose Martinez for the first out.  Sean Kazmar followed with a ground ball to third baseman Isa Garcia, whose only play was to first base.  On the play, Mike Baxter scored from third base to make it a 3-1 game.  With the tying runs in scoring position, Seth Johnston followed with a two-run double, evening the game at 3-3.  Josh Dew was called upon to replace Gregerson, but he only threw one pitch.  Morton ripped a hard grounder to left field to score Johnston, as Allen Craig's throw from left field was off-line to catcher Matt Pagnozzi

The ninth-inning drama spoiled a fine outing by Todd, who allowed just one hit over seven scoreless innings, as the Missions had just one hit going into the bottom of the ninth.

Mark Shorey delivered a two-out single in the first inning to plate Jim Rapoport and give Springfield an unearned run to make it 1-0. The Cards took a 2-0 lead in the third, as Rapoport reached on a walk and later scored from third on a ground ball by Allen Craig. Brandon Buckman ripped his first Double-A homer in the ninth and fifth of the year made it a 3-0 game. 

Saturday, August 9

The Cardinals were handed their second straight loss, falling to the Corpus Christi Hooks by a score of 4-1 on Saturday night in the opening game of a three-game series at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi

Springfield managed just one run on six hits against three different Hooks' pitchers. 

The game continued into the fifth inning with a scoreless tie when Hooks' starter Bud Norris was removed, with two outs and the bases loaded. It looked good for a moment for Springfield, but Mark Shorey was retired on a fly ball to left field for the final out, leaving three men stranded.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Hooks got on the board against Cards' starter Adam Ottavino. Drew Sutton hit a lead off homer in the sixth to open the inning, giving the Hooks a 2-0 lead.  Ottavino (2-7) was removed after working the sixth, allowing just two runs on eight hits in the loss. 

Allen Craig's RBI double chased home Isa Garcia in the seventh inning, with two outs, as Springfield cut the deficit to 2-1.

Corpus Christi answered with single runs in ugly seventh and eighth innings.  With two outs and a runner at first base, Cards'' reliever Josh Dew was called for a balk. Moments later, Dew gave up an RBI single, making it a 3-1 game.  Marco Gonzalez yielded a one-out double in the eighth, then wild pitched the runner to third.  Eli Iorg followed with a sac fly, making it a three-run game at 4-1.

Sunday, August 10

Springfield, then five games back of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the Texas League North Division, lost their third straight game on the current road trip, falling to Corpus Christi by a score of 7-3 on Sunday night.

Springfield was unable to come up with much needed clutch hits as they stranded 14 men on base. Corpus Christi starter Casey Hudspeth walked six men in his first four innings, but Springfield managed to capitalize on only one of the walks.

Things started out favorably for the Cards as Brandon Buckman's two-out single in the first plated Allen Craig, and the Cards found themselves up 1-0.

Cards' starter Kyle Mura gave up four runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

Springfield drew to within two in the sixth, as Jim Rapoport was hit in the leg with the bases loaded, forcing home Daryl Jones to make it 4-2. 

A two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning against Cards' reliever Jon Mikrut gave the Hooks a 6-2 lead. They tacked on another in the seventh against Mikrut.

Mark Shorey homered with one out in the ninth, his 11th of the year, making it a 7-3 game.  Brandon Buckman and Jose Martinez both followed with hits against Hooks' reliever Sammy Gervacio.  Gervacio would recover to leave the tying run in the on-deck circle though, retiring Daryl Jones and Matt Pagnozzi to end the game.

Monday, August 11

The Cardinals salvaged the final game of the three-game series in Corpus Christi on Monday, edging the Hooks 4-3 in 11 innings.

Donovan Solano's third hit of the game, an RBI double with two outs in the 11th inning, scored Casey Rowlett with what turned out to be the game-winning run.  The win for the Cards kept them five games back of Northwest Arkansas in the North Division.

Springfield took a 3-0 lead in the first two innings.  Rowlett led off the first with his first of four hits, then later scored on Mark Shorey's two-out RBI single. Back-to-back run-scoring hits from Rowlett and Solano increased the lead in the second.

Springfield starter Justin Fiske uncharacteristically struggled with his control, walking a season-high six men in just 4 2/3 innings.  Fiske walked the bases loaded in the second and allowed a two-out single to drive in two and a solo homer in the third to tie the game at three.  

The game remained tied until Solano' broke loose in the 11th.  Rowlett singled with two outs against Hooks' reliever Chris Salamida, who then gave up Solano's RBI double to left-center field. 

Luis Perdomo (2-1), who worked a scoreless tenth inning, worked a 1-2-3 11th inning, getting Jarred Ball to fly out to the warning track in right field to end the game. 

Wednesday, August 13

Springfield lost the opener of a three-game series with San Antonio Missions by a score of 6-2, as the Cards returned home for a six-game home stand.

Earlier in the evening, the Division-leading Northwest Arkansas Naturals lost their game to the Midland RockHounds, giving the Cards a chance to pick up a game, but that was all for nil, as San Antonio capitalized on three Springfield errors, scoring three unearned runs against Cards' pitching.

The Missions committed their own fair-share of errors issuing eight walks and throwing four wild pitches. One wild pitch in the third allowed Allen Craig to score, giving the Cardinals the lead at 1-0.

San Antonio got even in the fourth inning against Brandon Dickson and in the fifth, the Missions got to Dickson again for three runs (two earned) to make it 4-1. In the sixth, a throwing error allowed two more runs to score as San Antonio took a commanding advantage of 6-1.

Springfield made a run at it in the ninth, as Brandon Buckman got the rally going with his fourth hit of the night, a one-out single off of Missions' reliever Mauro Zarate.  Daryl Jones and Jose Martinez followed with consecutive singles, with Buckman scoring on the Martinez hit to make it 6-2.  Reliever Gabe DeHoyos was brought into the game and immediately walked Brandon Yarbrough, loading the bases.  DeHoyos recovered to strike out pinch-hitter Casey Rowlett and then got Jim Rapoport swinging to end it, recording his fourth save of the year and Springfield's second consecutive loss.

Thursday, August 14

The Cardinals almost let another big lead slip away in the ninth inning on Thursday night as the Missions scored four times in the ninth inning with two outs, to come within a run of tying the game. But the Redbirds held on for a 6-5 victory, picking up a game in the standings on first place Northwest Arkansas in the North Division.

Cards' reliever Luis Perdomo cruised through the first two batters in the ninth inning, but then three straight hitters reached safely and things went downhill from there. But, I guess Perdomo can't be blamed for the entire fiasco as Fernando Salas was brought in and on his second pitch, gave up a three-run homer, making it a one-run game at 6-5.  Salas got Kyle Blanks swinging though, ending the game and recording his league-leading 24th save in the process. 

In the first inning, San Antonio took a 1-0 lead against Cards' starter Brad Furnish. In the bottom of the first, Springfield was quick to respond as Andrew Brown homered with two aboard giving Springfield a 3-1 lead. It was Brown's 19th home run of the year and his 10th in a Springfield uniform. Jose Martinez picked up a two-run single in the third, making it a 5-1 score.

Furnish finished the fifth inning for Springfield, allowing just one run on two hits.  The left-hander walked six and struck out three, eventually earning the win in his Double-A debut. 

In the eighth, Casey Rowlett singled and scored on a Donovan Solano RBI single, giving Springfield an insurance run that would prove to be the deciding factor in the game.

The Cards (28-24) are now four games behind Northwest Arkansas in the North Division.

In Other News

The St. Louis Cardinals have announced that Adam Wainwright will continue his rehab assignment with the Springfield Cardinals, as he is scheduled to start for Springfield this Saturday night at Hammons Field, as the Cardinals host the Corpus Christi Hooks.

Wainwright, who hasn't' pitched for St. Louis since June 7th, is anticipated to throw between 50 and 60 pitches.  An integral part of St. Louis' World Series Championship in 2006, the right-hander has been on the Disabled List for two months with a sprained right middle finger.  Wainwright has made two rehab appearances so far, pitching for Triple-A Memphis this past week.

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