Cardinals Minor League Notebook: April 23, 2018

photo: Andrew Knizner (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Springfield’s Andrew Knizner is our Sunday Player of the Day across the 2-2 St. Louis Cardinals system.  The catcher doubled twice, increasing his Texas League-best batting average to .429.

Results of games played on Sunday, April 22.

Memphis Redbirds 8 at Iowa Cubs 6 (12 innings)

Rangel Ravelo (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

It took 12 innings, but the Redbirds came away from Sunday’s contest as 8-6 road winners over the Cubs – despite the bullpen twice blowing save opportunities.

Redbirds left fielder Rangel Ravelo had three hits in six plate appearances with two runs batted in, including one on a sacrifice fly and Memphis’s final run of the game in the top of the 12th inning. In that frame, first baseman Luke Voit drew a bases-loaded walk and was credited with the go-ahead RBI. Oscar Mercado hit his third home run of the season and stole two bases – his eighth and ninth of the year. The Redbirds had many more chances, going 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranding 11 runners.

Starter Dakota Hudson pitched 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball with six strikeouts. After Derian Gonzalez finished the sixth and pitched the seventh and eighth innings, Preston Guilmet surrendered a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth. After the Redbirds jumped ahead in the top of the 10th inning, Guilmet allowed the tying run in the bottom half of the frame for a blown save.

When the Redbirds pulled ahead for good in the 12th inning, Edward Mujica was the pitcher of record. Mujica – who surrendered the lead in the 11th – blew his first save of the year and won his second game. Across 1 1/3 innings, Mujica fanned three batters.

Monday’s game: Austin Gomber (1-0, 3.57) at Iowa Cubs, 12:08 PM Central time.

Arkansas Travelers 9, Springfield Cardinals 3

Andrew Knizner (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

With seven runs across the fifth and sixth innings, the Travelers sprinted to a 9-3 victory over the visiting Cardinals.

Springfield starter Jake Woodford allowed six runs in his 4 1/3 innings. Three came on a home run, and two of the right-hander’s four walks came around to score. Taking the loss, Woodford dropped to 1-2 on the season. Jacob Evans was tagged for three more runs in the sixth before Tyler Bray pitched 2 2/3 innings of clean baseball, when it was too late.

The Cardinals had just three hits in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position and left nine on base. First baseman John Nogowski batted in two, and left fielder Victor Roache drove in the other. Shortstop Ramon Urias went 4-for-4 including two doubles.

Clean-up hitter Andrew Knizner did his part. Our Player of the Day went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and scored twice. The two-base hits are the catcher’s fourth and fifth this season as he raised his season average to .429, tops in the Texas League.

Monday’s game: Chris Ellis (0-0, 0.93) vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 6:30 PM Central time.

Charleston Stone Crabs 10, Palm Beach Cardinals 8

Shane Billings (Peoria Chiefs)

At least the Beach Birds did not give up, as they scored eight unanswered runs from the sixth inning onward, but the rally was not enough to overcome the 10 runs the Stone Crabs scored in the early going. After a fast start to the season, Palm Beach suffered its fourth consecutive loss, falling to 9-8 overall.

Anthony Shew went 3 2/3 innings in his start and allowed six runs on eight hits. With a couple of errors while he was on the mound, Jason Zgardowski surrendered four unearned runs in his 1 1/3 relief frames before Jacob Patterson and Ronnie Williams posted zeroes across the final three innings.

On the offensive side, first baseman Ryan McCarvel, catcher Brian O’Keefe, and shortstop Jose Martinez had two RBI apiece. Right fielder Shane Billings (three hits, including a double) and left fielder J.B. Woodman each scored twice. Second baseman Andy Young led off the two-run seventh with a solo home run, his sixth long ball of 2018.

Monday’s game: Evan Kruczynski (1-0, 3.38) vs. Jupiter Hammerheads, 5:30 PM Central time.

Peoria Chiefs 6, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 3

Alvaro Seijas (St. Louis Cardinals)

Fueled by five runs in the seventh inning, the Chiefs pulled off a 6-3 victory over the Timber Rattlers. The win gave Peoria the home series sweep of Wisconsin.

Starter Alvaro Seijas turned in 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball with six punchouts. Kevin Hamann finished the sixth and recorded two outs in the seventh, charged with one run and a blown save, before Levi MaVorhis took over. MaVorhis was the pitcher of record when Peoria’s bats got to work, so he picked up his first win of the year. Fabian Blanco tossed a perfect ninth to collect his first save of 2018.

Contributions came from throughout the Chiefs’ batting order on Sunday, as seven of nine starters recorded at least one hit and six players batted in a run. Shortstop Taylor Bryant and first baseman Juan Yepez each had two hits – a single and a double; for Bryant, it was his second double, and Yepez’ sixth. Bryant, Yepez, left fielder Jonatan Machado, third baseman Elehuris Montero, right fielder Bryce Denton, and catcher Jonathan Rodriguez each batted in one of the team’s six runs.

With offensive manufacturing done well by the Chiefs, it’s not a surprise that the team went 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded just six runners.

Monday’s game: Winston Nicacio (0-0, 8.00) at Beloit Snappers, 6:30 PM Central time.

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