The Springfield Cardinals Report: 08/29/08

Time is running out as the St. Louis Cardinals Double-A affiliate is two games down with four to go in the Texas League North Division and lack the tiebreaker advantage.

With only four games left on the 2008 season, the Springfield Cardinals are bringing it right down to the wire. The Cards sit at two games back in the Texas League North Division, behind the division-leading Northwest Arkansas Naturals. If the two teams finish in a tie, the Naturals win the tie-breaker due to a better head-to-head record against the Cardinals. 



Friday, August 22


The Cardinals moved back into a first place tie with the Naturals on Friday night, as they beat Northwest Arkansas by a score of 5-1 at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Arkansas.


Justin Fiske pitched a strong game, throwing 6 1/3 innings of one-run baseball, getting his third win of the year.


The Cardinals went through the first four innings with no hits off Naturals' starter Julio Pimentel, before Pimentel misplayed Brandon Buckman's ground ball for an error. Brandon Yarbrough, who had three hits and an RBI in Friday's game, followed with Springfield's first hit of the game, a single to right field.  Casey Rowlett's three-run home run to left field, his fifth of the year, gave the Cards a 3-0 lead.


Springfield added single runs in the sixth and seventh, as Yarbrough and Daryl Jones had run-scoring hits respectively, putting the Redbirds up 5-0.

Fiske (3-0) carried a shutout into the seventh inning, but with one out, left after loading the bases.  Luke Gregerson came out of the bullpen and retired Jose Duarte on a ground ball to shortstop Donovan Solano.  On the play, Mario Lisson scored to break up the shut-out at 5-1.  Gregerson then fanned Marc Maddox with the tying run in the on-deck circle, ending the threat.  Gregerson went on to work a 1-2-3 eighth inning, before turning it over to Marco Gonzalez, who worked a scoreless ninth. 

At the end of the night, Springfield and Northwest Arkansas had identical records of 34-26, with 10 games left in the regular season.

Saturday, August 23

The Cardinals returned home to Hammons Field on Saturday night to face the Arkansas Travelers, first-half season winners, in a three-game series, to be followed by a four-game series with the Tulsa Drillers.

The Cards pounded the Travs 16-8, starting big in the first inning with a whopping six runs. It was the Redbirds third win in a row and kept Springfield in a tie with Northwest Arkansas in the Northern Division standings in the Texas League.

Daryl Jones and Brett Wallace, who combined for seven hits, each connected for three-run homers, helping Brandon Dickson to win his third game since joining Springfield.

With Jones and new Palm Beach call-up Daniel Descalso aboard in the first, Wallace connected for his first homer at Double-A and his sixth home run since being drafted 13th overall this past June by St. Louis, giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.  Run-scoring hits from Mark Shorey, Isa Garcia and Matt Pagnozzi would follow, putting Springfield in front 6-0 at the end of just one inning.

Arkansas got on the board with two in the third against Dickson, making it a 6-2 game.

Springfield broke the game open again in the bottom of the inning, as Jones blasted his fifth homer since joining Springfield, a three-run shot to make it 9-2. 

The Cardinals got single runs in the fourth and the sixth.  Andrew Brown''s RBI double in the fourth made it 10-2.  A sac fly from Garcia drove home Donovan Solano from third in the sixth, putting the Redbirds in front 11-2.

Arkansas chased Dickson in the seventh with two runs. The Travs scored two more in the top of the eighth off Josh Dew, before the Cards got five in the bottom of the inning.  The Travs capped the scoring with two unearned runs off Jon Mikrut in the ninth. 

Sunday, August 24

Josh Kinney, the first Springfield player to appear in a major league game, made his first appearance as part of a rehab assignment at Hammons Field on Sunday. Kinney used just five pitches to work a scoreless seventh inning.  After hitting the opening batter, Kinney got Mark Trumbo to ground into a double-play.  Kinney then struck out Chris Pettit on just three pitches.

The Cards did their best to blow the game as Cards' reliever Fernando Salas wasn't able to hold a three-run ninth inning advantage.  After surrendering his fourth straight hit, the latter tying the game, Salas was lifted in favor of eventual winner Marco Gonzalez (7-0).  After walking Brian Stavisky on four pitches to load the bases, Gonzalez got Ben Johnson to line out to send the game to the bottom of the ninth. 

Brett Wallace hit his second homer of the night, a walk off blast off Rafael Rodriquez, to lift the Cards to a 6-5 victory.

Cards' starting pitcher Brad Furnish turned in quite a performance, firing six shutout innings in just his third Double-A start.  Furnish pitched around a pair of first-inning walks, allowing just three hits and two walks over six frames. 

The Redbirds' offense backed Furnish with three runs in the third, as Daryl Jones and Donovan Solano each had an RBI single.  Mark Shorey's sac fly to right field capped the inning at 3-0. 

Daryl Jones and Wallace both homered for the second consecutive night against the Travs.  Jones' sixth in a Springfield uniform made it 4-0 in the fourth, before Wallace's second in a Springfield uniform made it 5-0 in the fifth against Arkansas starter Amalio Diaz (3-4). 

An eighth-inning solo homer off the bat of Cards' reliever Zack Zuercher, broke up the shut-out.  The Travs would tack on another run in the eighth against Luis Perdomo, making it a 5-2 game. 

Monday, August 25

Once again, Springfield ended the night in a tie for first place with Northwest Arkansas as they beat the Arkansas Travelers 6-5.

Andrew Brown gave the Cards the lead in the first inning at 3-0, blasting a long three-run homer to left field, his 12th in a Springfield uniform.

Brett Wallace' doubled in the third with a man aboard to put Springfield up 5-0.

Arkansas began to mount a comeback in the fourth, as Corey Smith belted a two-run homer off of Cards' starter Adam Ottavino, making it 5-2. Arkansas made the game even more interesting in the fifth, as they plated two to make it 5-4.

Ottavino was chased in the sixth with two outs, after back-to-back singles.  Jon Mikrut worked out of trouble, but gave up a game-tying homer to Brian Stavisky in the seventh, making it 5-5.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth against Travs'' reliever Francisco Rodriguez (5-5), Andrew Brown walked, then moved to third on Brandon Buckman''s single. With runners at the corners and two away, pinch-hitter Brandon Yarbrough hit a hard grounder off the glove of Travs' second baseman Nate Sutton.  By the time Sutton recovered, Yarbrough had beaten the throw to first, as Brown scored to give the Cards a 6-5 lead.

Luke Gregerson, who worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, retired the side in order in the ninth.  Gregerson (7-6) struck out four of the six hitters he faced, including Ryan Leahy to end it. 

Tuesday, August 26

The Tulsa Drillers came into Hammons Field on Tuesday night having lost their last four games, but they would not lose a fifth in a row, as they beat the Cardinals 4-2, putting the Cards a full game back of division leading Northwest Arkansas with just six games left to play in the regular season.

The Drillers pecked away at the Cards and starter Kyle Mura (3-4), getting RBI singles in the third and fourth innings with solo homers in the next two.

The Redbirds got to the Tulsa bullpen in the eighth as Daniel Descalso and Brett Wallace each drove home a run, cutting the deficit to 4-2.  Still trailing 4-2 in the ninth, Jim Rapaport reached with a one-out single, but Andrew Brown and Daryl Jones fanned to end the game.

Wednesday, August 27

Springfield won their sixth game in their last seven outings, beating Tulsa 5-3 at Hammons Field on Wednesday night. The win kept the Redbirds (38-27) one game back of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, with only five games remaining.

The score was tied 1-1 until the sixth inning when Springfield scored four runs. With two on board and one out, Andrew Brown singled home Allen Craig, giving the Cards the lead for good at 2-1.  Two batters later, Donovan Solano ripped his first Double-A home run, a three-run blast to left to give the Cards a 5-1 lead.

The Drillers answered with two in the eighth against Marco Gonzalez, making it a two-run game at 5-3.  Fernando Salas came on and not only got the final two outs of the eighth, but retired the side in order in the ninth, earning his league-leading 25th save of the year.

Cards starter, Justin Fiske (4-0), earned his second straight win, allowing one run on five hits, striking out five batters over six innings. It was his fourth win of the season.

Josh Kinney, made his second rehab appearance with Springfield, using just seven pitches in a scoreless seventh inning.  He fanned two. 

Thursday, August 28

The Cardinals fell two games back of the division leading Northwest Arkansas as they lost a heartbreaker to the Tulsa Drillers. Springfield went down hard 11-4 as their pitchers issued a season-high ten walks.

The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the first, as Brett Wallace drove home Daniel Descalso with an RBI single. 

Redbird's starter Brandon Dickson (3-2) gave up a two-run triple and an RBI single as Tulsa jumped on top for good at 3-1. Jon Mikrut relieved Dickson after four innings and served up a solo home run in the fifth inning, making it a 4-1 game.

Springfield struck for a pair in the bottom of the fifth inning, tightening it up at 4-3.  With Casey Rowlett and Descalso aboard, Allen Craig and Brett Wallace had back-to-back run-scoring hits. 

Tulsa exploded for five in the sixth to break the game open.  Josh Dew gave up an RBI single, as the Drillers took a 5-3 lead.  After a walk, Dew gave up a grand slam to make it 9-3.

Craig homered in the eighth inning, his team-leading 22nd of the year, making it 9-4.

The Drillers capped the scoring with a pair off of Luis Perdomo in the ninth, giving them an 11-4 advantage.

Looking ahead

The Cards will send Brad Furnish (1-1) to the mound against Tulsa's Chaz Roe (5-4) on Friday night, in the club's final regular season home game in 2008.

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