Once again, it is amazing what a difference a week can make. As I sat here last Friday, suffering from the beating that the Cards were getting from the Corpus Christi Hooks, I couldn't help but think that with the Cards four games back, and only 18 games to play, the post-season was pretty much out of the question.
But here it is another Friday and with only 10 games left in the season, I am excited again as the Cards are one game back of the first place Northwest Arkansas Naturals and are poised to take it all.
Friday, August 15
night was the beginning of a great run for the Cards and a bit of a slump for
the Naturals. It all started in the second inning as
Yarbrough's game-winning hit pulled the Cards (29-24) to within three games of first place in the North Division, delighting a sold-out crowd of over 7,100 at Hammons Field.
The Missions did respond in the third, picking up three straight doubles against Cards' starter Adam Ottavino, tying the game at 2-2.
closer Greg Burke (2-7) who worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, gave up back-to-back
singles to Brandon Buckman and Mark Shorey with one out in the ninth.
After missing with his first two pitches to Daryl Jones, the Missions elected to
load the bases for the on-deck hitter, Jose Martinez. The strategy worked
Saturday, August 16
A sold-out crowd of over 8,300 packed Hammons Field to watch St. Louis Cardinals' right-hander Adam Wainwright make a rehab start on Saturday night. And Wainwright didn't disappoint the large crowd as he threw 64 pitches, while firing 4 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball before reaching his pitch limit. On the disabled list since mid-June with a sprained right middle finger, Wainwright fanned seven, while allowing only four hits.
The Cardinals won their third straight game, behind Wainwright's pitching, pulling to within two games of first place in the North Division with the 5-2 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks.
The Redbirds took a 3-0 lead in the second with the help of Wainwright's bat as he picked up an infield single, then scored on a Jones' triple.
Wainwright departed in the fifth with two outs, giving way to eventual winner Josh Dew. With a man aboard at first base, Dew (1-2) came in and fanned Wladimir Sutil for the final out of the inning. Dew would go on to throw a total of 2 1/3 innings, striking out five while yielding just one hit and one walk.
Jim Rapoport's sac fly in the fifth inning put
Sunday, August 17
At the end of a long night at Hammons Field on Sunday, the Cardinals came away with their fourth win in a row and closed the gap to only one game in the standings in the Texas League North Division.
Things didn't look good at the start of the fourth inning as Corpus Christi Hooks Mitch Einertson hit a grand slam to put the Hooks up 6-1 against Cards' starter Justin Fiske, who allowed six runs over five innings in a no-decision.
answered in the bottom of the fourth with his 11th homer of the year, a solo
shot that brought
ninth inning didn't look spectacular either as the Hooks led 8-3, but the Cards
rallied for five runs in the ninth inning and thought they had the game won with
a sixth. A bases-loaded double by
the 11th inning, down 8-7, Andrew Brown and Isa Garcia opened with consecutive
singles. Daryl Jones followed and after attempting to bunt the runners up
to second and third, eventually ended up walking to load the bases.
Monday, August 18
was a perfect night for baseball at Hammons Field on Monday night as
put the Cards on the board in the fourth inning, taking Hook's starter Chance Douglass deep over the right field fence for a 1-0 lead. The home run for
Jones is his third since joining
Corpus Christi's biggest threat against Dickson came against the Redbirds in the first inning, but the Cards' starter stranded runners at second and third by fanning Brian Bogusevic on a called third strike. Dickson worked five scoreless frames, allowing four hits, while striking out five.
and Donovan Solano added to
Springfield reliever Marco Gonzalez worked a scoreless sixth, but gave up two in the seventh on a ground ball and a wild pitch, making it a one-run game at 3-2.
Brandon Buckman''s second home run since being called up from Palm Beach gave Springfield some cushion, as his two-run shot in the eighth made it 5-2.
Luis Perdomo gave up a two-out double in the ninth, but fanned Jonny Ash to end it,
giving Perdomo his first save in a
Tuesday, August 19
was a five-run fourth inning that made the difference in the game, as the
Naturals took advantage of the fourth of
Cards got a sac fly from Brandon Buckman in the sixth, tightening things up at
6-4, but would get no closer, as
eight Northwest Arkansas runs were unearned due to the five
Shorey had four hits to lead
Furnish (1-1) pitched well despite the loss, giving up six unearned runs over five innings.
With the loss, the Redbirds had dropped eight straight games at Arvest Ballpark.
Wednesday, August 20
It couldn't have happened at a worse time. A chance to make up ground in the standings, and the Cardinals once again blew a big lead and gave the game to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals - the team they most need to beat to have any chance at post-season play.
the Naturals 5-4 in the eighth inning, the Cards could not hold
it. Reliever Luis Perdomo's
first pitch of the inning was blasted over the wall in right-center field by
Cory Aldridge, tying the game at 5-5. Three batters later, Brian McFall
struck for his 16th bomb of the year, his seventh homer against
The Cards couldn't score with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, as Andrew Brown grounded into a game-ending force-out.
Redbirds had built an early 5-0 lead. Daryl Jones homered to open the
game, his fourth since joining
The Cardinals took a 5-0 advantage with three more runs in the second inning. Misplayed ground balls off the bats of Matt Pagnozzi and Jim Rapoport led to the first two runs of the inning, while Solano capped the frame with a sac fly, scoring Pagnozzi to make it 5-0.
Starter Adam Ottavino shined through the first three innings, before allowing back-to-back hits to open the fourth. Marc Maddox and Irving Falu singled to open the inning, then scored on a one-out Aldridge double, making it 5-2.
Otttavino lost some of his stuff in the fifth as he gave up another run to McFall who singled and later scored from third base on a double-play ball off the bat of Maddox, making it 5-3.
In a side-note: St. Louis Cardinals' 2008 first-round draft pick, Brett Wallace, debuted on Wednesday night, going 1-for-4 with a double in his second at-bat.
Thursday, August 21
Wallace had two hits and two runs scored to help
Tied at 4-4, Casey Rowlett led off the 10th with a double off the left-center field wall. After moving to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Daryl Jones, Rowlett scored on Solano's single to left field, giving the lead back to the Cards.
In Other News:
The Springfield Cardinals announced on Thursday that Josh Kinney, the first Springfield Cardinal in franchise history to ever play for the St. Louis Cardinals, will be returning to Hammons Field on Sunday, August 24, as part of his rehab assignment.
Kinney, who was 2-1 with 11 saves and a 1.29 ERA in 32 appearances for the 2005 inaugural Springfield Cardinals Team, debuted for the St. Louis Cardinals on July 2, 2006 against the Atlanta Braves. After helping the Cardinals win the World Series in 2006, Kinney was injured in Spring Training 2007. Kinney would go on to have "Tommy John" surgery as well as a fractured elbow in 2007.
Cardinals return to Hammons Field this Saturday, taking on the Arkansas Travelers in the opening game of a seven-game home stand. Kinney is
scheduled to work out of the