Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 9/11/17

photo: Patrick Wisdom (Memphis Redbirds)

The Memphis train keeps rolling with a victory in the must-win series’ finale, clinching the American Conference championship.  That train was powered by their offense, with 10 of 18 hits going for extra bases, including four home runs.

Results from games played Sunday, September 10th.

Memphis 13 at Colorado Springs 10      

Tyler O’Neill (Memphis Redbirds)

The Redbirds’ historic 2017 season was kept alive with a 13-10 victory at Colorado Springs (MIL), in the fifth and deciding game of the American Conference Championship.

The visitors pounced on Sky Sox pitching immediately, their five-run first generated via two-run bombs by Tyler O’Neill and Patrick Wisdom sandwiched around Adolis Garcia’s solo shot.  Wilfredo Tovar went yard with a runner aboard in the seventh, the final Redbird to go deep.

Wilfredo Tovar (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Colorado Springs crept to within three after four but Memphis erupted for eight runs over the next four frames. The 18-hit attack featured four Redbirds with three hits apiece: O’Neill, Wisdom, Tovar and Aledmys Diaz.  The four accounted for five of the team’s six doubles and scored eight runs.  Garcia provided the sixth double and joined Jacob Wilson by going 2-for-4 and touching home twice. Wisdom drove in four runs and scored two more, and O’Neill crossed the plate three times.

It was all hands on deck for Memphis’ pitchers and it took a substantial part of the pitching roster to secure the win.  Matt Pearce, the first of seven Redbirds hurlers to see action, gave up three runs on seven hits in 4 1/3, his final run scoring under Josh Zeid’s watch.

Zeid allowed one of two inherited runners to score via a wild pitch.  Zeid recorded the fifth’s final two outs, issuing one free pass, and was one of only two Memphis pitchers to not end up with a run on their stat sheet.

Mike Mayers/USA TODAY Sports Images

Sean Gilmartin retired two the next frame but permitted three runs on three hits and a base-on-balls.  Mike Mayers (W, 1-0) left Gilmartin’s last runner aboard and went on to toss 2 1/3 frames of scoreless ball.

Just when the victory seemed assured, the ninth inning reared its ugly head.  Miguel Socolovich seemed to have the game well in hand despite giving up a lead-off single.  The righty recorded two straight outs, leaving him with just one out to get and a runner on second.

But that out proved elusive.  Socolovich allowed a single and triple that plated two runs.  Mark Montgomery took the mound and served up a gopher ball that cut his team’s lead to 13-10.  After another double, Montgomery exited without attaining that final out.  Finally, Josh Lucas retired his only batter for the save.

Next game:  Memphis (3-2) (91-50) will face El Paso (3-0) (73-59) (SD) in the Pacific Coast League Championship with the Redbirds hosting the first two games of the best-of-five series.  The series begins at AutoZone Park on Tuesday, September 12th.

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