photo: Juan Yepez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
The St. Louis Cardinals minor league system was 5-4 on Thursday, led by Memphis’ road twin bill sweep. The Cardinal Nation Player of the Day Juan Yepez was a factor in both wins and teammate Nolan Gorman had four hits in Game 1.
Results from the games played Thursday, September 2nd.
Memphis 9 at Gwinnett 6 (7 innings) – Game 1
Memphis 3 at Gwinnett 2 (7 innings) – Game 2
Memphis (50-55) swept a pair at second-place Gwinnett, with the wins coming in a totally different fashion. The 9-6 opening victory was a high-octane affair while the nightcap featured lots of zeros culminating in a 3-2 win. The visitors lead the series, two games to one, with three yet to play.
The Redbirds claimed Game 1 behind the big bats of their two through five hitters who went a combined 10-for-24, touched home five times and drove in six. Nolan Gorman spearheaded the charge, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.
Batting behind Gorman in the three slot was Juan Yepez. The Cardinal Nation’s Player of the Month for August went 3-for-4 with a walk, double, crossing home plate twice and knocking in three. Clean-up hitter Conner Capel singled three times in five at bats, scored one, drove in two and swiped a base.
Nick Plummer contributed despite going hitless in three at bats. The center fielder scored all three times he reached base after working two free passes and getting hit by a pitch. Dennis Ortega’s only hit in three at bats was a two-run double although the catcher did reach base another time via a free pass.
It took five Memphis pitchers to navigate seven frames. Starter Zack Thompson lasted just 2 2/3 innings, permitting four scores on three hits and five walks, including a two-run home run. The prospect lefty fanned five.
The next three hurlers all stranded several of their predecessor’s base runners. Seth Elledge (W, 2-1) left Thompson’s last two runners aboard, recording six outs despite being wild, giving up a hit plus two walks with two hit batsmen.
Jesus Cruz and Evan Kruczynski each left three inherited base runners on with two batters retired. Cruz yielded a tally on a hit and three free passes issued before Kruczynski struck out both batters faced. Connor Jones was touched for a run on three hits in his inning of work.
Defensively, the visitors committed four errors, all due to errant throws. Yepez was charged with his ninth and 10th miscues while both Thompson and Ortega were unsuccessful in attempted pick offs.
Both squads scored early in the finale before the pitching settled into a duel. The visitors struck with a two-run first. Both scores were generated by Yepez’ 20th home run since joining the Redbirds. It came with Kramer Robertson (single) aboard and when combined with his Game 1 output, earns the first baseman our Player of the Day nod. (Another prime candidate for POD, Nolan Gorman, got the finale off.)
The Stripers answered right back with a two-run long ball of their own off spot starter Austin Warner. The southpaw fanned five in four frames, yielding three hits and a base-on-balls.
Jacob Bosiokovic’s first taste of Triple-A action was a sweet one. The righty worked two shutout innings, giving up a hit and walk for his first Triple-A victory. Tommy Parsons retired the side in order, notching his first save since short-season ball in 2018.
The contest flowed along as each set of hurlers put up donut holes until the sixth. Center fielder Scott Hurst launched a ball over the right field wall, putting Memphis ahead 3-2. The bomb was Hurst’s only hit in three at bats and one of just six for the Redbirds.
Kramer Robertson collected two of those hits, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. The six hits were disbursed among Memphis’ one through five batters.
Friday’s game: at Gwinnett (59-46) (ATL), 7:05 pm ET/6:05 pm CT, Johan Oviedo (1-5, 7.41)
Springfield 10 at Tulsa 1
The S-Cards’ late offensive explosion resulted in a 10-1 victory at third-place Tulsa. Springfield (39-66) holds a two-games-to-one series advantage with three contests on tap.
Springfield clung to a slim 2-0 advantage through six, thanks to single tallies in the first two frames, but broke the game open with eight runs over the last three innings. The visitors matched their 10 hits to their run production.
The offense was carried by five bombs accounting for eight of the 10 runs. Matt Koperniak got the scoring started in the first, blasting his initial Double-A home run. The right fielder ended up with a line of 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBI.
Next up on the launching pad was Malcom Nunez who went 2-for-5 with a double, touched home twice, drove in one and swiped a base. His solo shot comprised half of Springfield’s seventh-inning results.
Leandro Cedeno propelled his first Double-A long ball over the left-center wall, scoring Chandler Redmond who drew a free pass to open the eighth. The first baseman added a single to his bomb in five at bats. Irving Lopez went yard two batters later and Springfield went up 7-2.
But the biggest blast came last. Catcher Ivan Herrera homered with Delvin Perez (single) and Koperniak (walk) aboard, as his ninth-inning bomb capped a big night for S-Cards’ bats.
The good news at the plate was matched by good news on the mound. Making his second rehab start overall and first for Springfield, Dakota Hudson struck out three in 2 2/3 innings, reaching his pitch count cap at that point. The righty yielded two hits and a walk, throwing 25 of his 43 pitches for strikes, finishing with a swinging K and 6-3 ground out.
Domingo Robles (W, 3-9) took his regular turn in the rotation after Hudson and held the Drillers in check until the ninth. The lefty permitted a lone run on four hits in 6 1/3 frames.
Friday’s game: at Tulsa (56-49) (LAD), 7:05 pm CT, Dalton Roach (6-9, 5.70)
Peoria 5 at West Michigan 6 (10 innings)
The Chiefs failed to close out two late leads, falling to the Whitecaps, 6-5, in 10 innings on the road. Peoria (39-66) has yet to put one in the win column in three tries with three games remaining.
The visitors trailed 3-2 going into the ninth but were handed two runs on walks and a fielding error. Reliever Paul Schwendel melted down in his second inning of work, allowing the tying run to score on a lead-off double, fly out, hit batsman and run-scoring balk.
Springfield gained their last lead with a 10th-inning score but Nick Trogrlic-Iverson (L, 5-5) (BS,2) allowed singles to his first two batters, with both hits scoring a runner and handing Peoria a walk-off loss.
Trogrlic-Iverson was the last of six Chiefs’ pitchers to see action. Connor Lunn went the initial five frames, striking out eight and permitting two runs on five hits, with both scores coming off one home run.
Diego Cordero pitched a clean sixth but Jacob Schlesener was tagged for a run on three hits the next inning, breaking a 2-2 tie. Leonardo Taveras walked two and retired one, with both runners stranded by Schwendel who recorded five outs.
Jacob Buchberger and Todd Lott singled twice in five at bats, with Buchberger touching home once with an RBI and stolen base. The only one of eight team hits to go for extra bases was a double by Tyler Reichenborn. It was the center fielder’s only hit in four at bats to go with a run scored.
Friday’s game: at West Michigan (51-54) (DET), 7:05 pm ET/6:05 pm CT, Wilfredo Pereira (22-8, 3.68)
Palm Beach 1 at Dunedin 4 (7 innings) – Game 1
Palm Beach 1 at Dunedin 7 (7 innings) – Game 2
While Memphis was the sweeper in their twin bill, the Beach Birds were the ‘sweepee’, dropping both ends of a double-header at Dunedin, 4-1 and 7-1. The two losses put Palm Beach a whopping 40 games under .500 at 31-71, including all three of the series’ first three contests.
The difference in Game 1’s 4-1 defeat was defense, as three of the four runs given up by Beach Birds pitchers were unearned. Michael McGreevy pitched the first, allowing a run on two hits, which tied the contest at 1-1.
John Beller (L, 0-6) struck out six in five innings, with all three unearned tallies charged to him occurring in his first inning on the bump. The lefty issued three free passes in all along with three hits.
Palm Beach outhit their hosts by a slim 6-5 margin. Mike Antico and Elijah Cabell had two hits each but unfortunately were nowhere near each other in the batting order. Antico’s two hits in four at bats came at the top of the order, with the center fielder scoring his team’s sole tally and stealing his fifth base. Cabell singled twice in three at bats, batting sixth.
Third baseman Osvaldo Tovalin committed a fielding error, his fourth.
Although starter Levi Prater (L, 1-7) took the Game 2 loss, the contest was put out of reach by a five-run fifth off reliever Luis Ortiz. Ortiz allowed five runs, two earned, on five hits, two plunked batters and a wild pitch.
Prater was charged with two runs during his 2 2/3-inning stint, permitting two hits, four walks, a hit batsman and two wild pitches. Inohan Paniagua bridged the span between Prater and Ortiz, retiring all four batters faced.
Roy Garcia pitched a scoreless sixth, yielding a hit with two strikeouts.
Designated hitter Wade Stauss accounted for the PB-Cards’ only run. An undrafted free agent signee out of Southeast Missouri State, the catcher went yard for the first time as a professional in the third. The home run was one of two hits in three at bats for Stauss who was responsible for two of his team’s five hits.
Defensively, it was more down than up for Palm Beach again. Center fielder Mike Antico was charged with his first error (throwing) and shortstop Darlyn Del Villar committed his sixth miscue (also throwing). Antico was credited with an outfield assist at third.
Friday’s game: at Dunedin (49-56) (TOR), 6:30 pm ET/5:30 pm CT, Jose Moreno (1-5, 6.42)
FCL Cardinals 1 at FCL Mets 0 (8 innings)
Five Florida Birds hurlers combined on a three-hit shutout as the FCL Cardinals (21-21) edged the FCL Mets (24-19), 1-0, in eight frames.
Nine pitchers, including five Cardinals, took part in the tight pitching duel in which the winning tally scored in the last, extra inning. Jose Davila was perfect through his four innings of work, 12 up and 12 down. The 18-year-old struck out three with seven ground- to two fly-ball outs.
Springfield rehabber Johan Quezada continued the perfecto, fanning all three batters faced. Ben Baird pitched himself into and back out of a sixth-inning jam, the biggest threat mounted by the Mets all day. The righty loaded the bases with his first three batters reaching via a double, single and walk then coaxed a fly out to center and inning-ending 5-3 double play.
Lefty Alex Cornwell (W, 1-0) faced his own tight situation the next inning. The USC product retired his initial two batters before loading the bases on a hit-by-pitch, single and base-on-balls. Cornwell escaped damage when the Mets’ number eight batter flied out to Joshua Baez in center.
Cornwell was the pitcher of record when his teammates scored the game’s only run the next inning, gaining the 22-year-old his first pro victory. Second baseman Ramon Mendoza began the eighth on second in the scheduled seven-inning game. Baez was issued an intentional free pass with one away but the walk worked by shortstop Jeremy Rivas was not intentional and filled the bases.
Rivas had garnered one of five hits generated by the Florida Birds as had first baseman Brady Whalen. Whalen, who is working his way back to form after a month on Peoria’s Injured List, lifted one deep enough to left for Mendoza to race home, gaining a 1-0 lead.
Southpaw Alfredo Ruiz, St. Louis’ sixth-round selection in the 2021 First-Year Player Draft, was entrusted with the slim advantage and he came through. Ruiz sent the side down in order, striking out one, for his first professional save.
Friday’s game: vs. FCL Astros (23-21), 12:00 pm ET/11:00 am CT, TBA
DSL Cardinals Blue 4 at DSL Angels 9
The DSL Cardinals Blue (12-24) were downed by the DSL Angels, absorbing a 9-4 road defeat. Since opening the season 10-8, the reeling Blue have lost 16 of their last 18.
The game was tied 2-2 at the fifth’s midpoint as Victor Herrera took over for starter Henry Gomez. Both scores charged to Gomez were unearned due to first-inning fielding bobble by right fielder Jose Suarez. The righty yielded six hits and a walk.
Herrera (L, 1-5) was tagged for four runs on four hits and a base-on-balls with three outs recorded. Three more right-handers pitched one inning each: Uriel Curvelo, Alejandro Cervantes and Esteban Contreras. Cervantes’s clean seventh was sandwiched between two run-producing frames. Curvelo yielded two tallies on two hits, a walk and two wild pitches before Contreras a run on a hit, base-on-balls and wild pitch.
Luis Mario Piño
C-Blue batters mustered nine hits, led by Suarez and shortstop Maycol Justo who had two hits apiece. Suarez singled twice in four at bats, scoring once but Justo’s two singles in five at bats did not produce results. Center fielder Luis Pino’s only hit in five at bats was his fourth home run, this one with the bases clean.
Friday’s game: vs. DSL Angels (18-16), 10:30 am ET/9:30 am CT, TBA
DSL Cardinals Red 4 vs. DSL Mets2 1
An eighth-inning rally lifted the DSL Cardinals Red (16-17) over the DSL Mets2, 4-1. Prior to the Thursday win, the Red had dropped four straight and seven of their last eight.
The home team trailed from the second inning onward, thanks to an unearned tally off starter Yonael Dominguez, but the script flipped in the eighth. Designated hitter Jose Rodriguez smashed a bases-clearing double, scoring second baseman Marcelo Perez (walk), catcher Maikel Hernandez (plunked) and third baseman Samil De La Rosa (walk). The two-bagger came with two gone and was Rodriguez’ only hit in four at bats.
The Cardinals Blue scoring was not finished, however. Right fielder Jeremy Ramos lined a double to center, bringing Rodriguez across the plate. It was the sixth double of 2021 for the 18-year-old.
The C-Blue offense produced just three hits in all, with the third hit belonging to Hernandez. The 18-year-old Venezuelan opened the third with a double and his eighth-inning walk was one of six free passes issued by Mets2 pitchers.
Meanwhile on the mound, Dominguez led a pitching trio that held the opposition to five hits and just one walk. The righty turned in an impressive six-inning performance, yielding three hits and issuing a free pass.
Angel Luna’s third pro appearance duplicated the results of his prior two efforts. The six-footer retired the side in order, striking out one. Darlin Saladin worked around two hits and a plunked batter for his fifth win in as many decisions.
Friday’s game: at DSL Mets2 (14-20), 10:30 am ET/9:30 am CT, TBA
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