Cardinals Minor League Notebook – July 5, 2021

Photo: Connor Thomas (Memphis Redbirds)

All four teams sent the holiday crowd home happy on Sunday as St Louis’ minors swept their opponents for the second straight day.  Leading a number of noteworthy performances was Connor Thomas’ start at Memphis.  Honorable mentions go out to Tyler Pike’s and Jack Ralston’s mound work for Springfield and Peoria, respectively, while the Palm Beach bullpen was nails.

Results from games played Sunday, July 4th

Memphis 2 vs Jacksonville 1
Connor Thomas was outstanding over seven frames as the Redbirds edged the Jumbo Shrimp in the series’ finale, 2-1.  Memphis (21-33) and Jacksonville (29-23)(MIA) each won three of the six-game set.

Player of the Day Thomas (W, 3-0), St Louis’ fifth-round pick in the 2019 First-Year Player Draft, faced just two batters over the minimum, yielding a hit and walk with four strikeouts.  The lefty threw 56 of his 86 pitches for strikes and singled once in two at bats.

Connor Thomas

Memphis led 2-0 at Thomas’ departure but their shutout bid ended under Seth Elledge’s watch.  Elledge allowed three hits generating a run in his only inning on the mound.

Connor Jones pitched the ninth, giving up a lead-off single before sandwiching a fly out to right between a force at second and a 6-3 ground out.  It was Jones’ second save of 2021.

The Redbirds’ offense found runs in scarce supply themselves as they were held to six hits.  Conner Capel launched his fourth home run with two gone and the bases clean, giving his team a 1-0 lead after two frames.  The right fielder later worked a base-on-balls, going 1-for-2 with a walk to go with his run scored/RBI.

That score held until first baseman Juan Yepez singled to kick off the fourth, his only hit in four at bats.  Catcher Ali Sanchez’s line-drive double to center was enough to score Yepez from first for a 2-0 lead.  Sanchez was the only Redbird with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 with his fourth two-bagger.

Monday’s game:  Off
Tuesday’s game:  at Louisville (21-31)(CIN),  6:00  pm CT, Matthew Liberatore (3-4, 4.40)

Springfield 7 vs Northwest Arkansas 2
A 12-hit offensive explosion mixed with strong pitching translated to the S-Cards’ 7-2 home victory over Northwest Arkansas (27-25)(KC).  Springfield (18-36) claimed two of the six games in the recently completed series.

The ‘Parade of the Bats’ was led by shortstop Brendan Donovan who went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored out of the two hole.  Three Springfield players had two hits apiece:  centerfielder Justin Toerner, left fielder David Vinsky and third baseman Malcom Nunez.  Toerner reached base three times, going 2-for-4 with a double, base-on-balls, crossing home twice and knocking in one.

Brendan Donovan

Toerner did his damage in the lead off slot while Vinsky’s spot in the order was at the other end, the nine hole.  Vinsky singled twice in four at bats, touching home two times.

Last but not least in the multi-hit column is Nunez who put up a pair of ‘firsts’ in his 2-for-5 effort.  One of the Cuban’s two hits was a solo shot, his first Double-A home run while his two-hit night was Nunez’ first multi-hit performance in seven games since his promotion from A-Advanced Peoria.

Tyler Pike’s strong mound work spearheaded a quartet of S-Card hurlers holding the Naturals to two tallies.  Pike (W, 1-2) limited Northwest Arkansas to a run on five hits and a walk through six frames but yielded a lead-off double and two-out RBI single the next inning, leading to his departure.  The southpaw struck out 11 in earning his first victory in affiliated ball since 2017.

Tyler Pike

Evan Sisk, Kodi Whitley and Jacob Bosiokovic shared pitching duties the rest of the way.  Sisk yielded a single before recording the seventh’s last out, giving way to Whitley.  Whitley continued his rehab assignment with a one-two-three eighth before Bosiokovic issued a ninth-inning free pass.

Monday’s game:  Off
Tuesday’s game:  vs Tulsa (30-23)(LAD), 6:35  pm CT, Andre Pallante (3-2, 2.72)

Peoria 4 vs West Michigan 1
Pedro Pages’ bases-clearing double snapped a late tie as the Chiefs tamed the Whitecaps, 4-1.  After dropping the initial three games, Peoria (22-32) clawed back for a 3-3 split of their six-game home set versus West Michigan (25-27)(DET).

Pages’ two-bagger came with Zade Richardson (walk), Matt Chamberlain (fielder’s choice) and Jordan Walker (force out) aboard and two gone in the eighth.  It was the catcher’s second hit in three at bats to go with two base-on-balls.  All three tallies were unearned due to a throwing error by the Whitecaps’ second baseman allowing Chamberlain to reach.

Peoria garnered 10 hits in all, paced by Moises Castillo who went 3-for-4 with a double and stolen base.   The shortstop was thrown out at home prior to Pages’ big hit.

Moises Castillo

Brady Whalen joined Chamberlain and Pages with a two-hit display, all three players doubling once with Whalen adding an intentional walk, RBI and hit-by-pitch.  Jordan Walker reached base twice, going 1-for-4 with a double, walk and the aforementioned run scored.

Four Chiefs pitchers joined forces to limit their opponents to just four hits, beginning with Jack Ralston.  Ralston tossed five innings of one-run ball, holding West Michigan to a run on two hits and a base-on-balls while striking out five.  One of the two hits was a home run.  It was the 23-year-old’s best effort since May 29th when he blanked Beloit over six innings.

Jack Ralston

Fabian Blanco took the sixth, fanning two and allowing a hit.  Right-hander Paul Schwendel (W, 1-0) retired all six batters faced, striking out four, earning the 31-year-old his first win in affiliated ball since 2014.  Freddy Pacheco gave up a hit with two strikeouts for his fourth save.

Monday’s game:  Off
Tuesday’s game:  at Cedar Rapids (28-26)(MIN), 6:35  pm CT, Connor Lunn (3-3, 5.14)

Palm Beach 7 vs Dunedin 4
The Beach Birds never looked back after scoring early, flying past the Blue Jays, 7-4.  It was the eighth win in their last 10 games for Palm Beach (22-32), a span including five of six versus Dunedin (21-32)(TOR).

The PB-Cards scored all seven tallies in the initial four frames, beginning with a four-run first. Jacob Buchberger gathered three of his team’s 12 hits, going 3-for-5 with a double, run scored and one driven in.

Three Beach Birds garnered two hits apiece:  right fielder Matt Koperniak, designated hitter Jose Zapata and catcher Edgardo Rodriguez.  Koperniak and Zapata posted nearly identical lines, both players going 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI’s, the former working two free passes and the latter walking once.  Each player had a hit go for extra bases, Koperniak smashing his sixth double while the 20-year-old Zapata launched a two-run home run, his first of 2021.

Jose Zapata

Ludwin Jimenez struggled in his start, yielding four runs on six hits and two walks over 3 2/3 frames.  The righty fanned four.

The bullpen, however, was stellar.  Reinys Portillo kept Dunedin off the board over the next 2 1/3 innings, issuing two free passes and striking out three.  Edwin Nunez tossed two clean frames, permitting a hit and base-on-balls before handing the ball off to Edgar Manzo for the ninth.  Manzo worked around a lead-off single and stolen base for his first professional save.

Monday’s game:  Off
Tuesday’s game:   at Lakeland  (27-35) (DET), 6:30 pm ET, TBA

Florida Complex League Cardinals – off
The Florida Complex League does not play on Sundays.

Monday’s game:  Off
Tuesday’s game:  FCL Cardinals (2-3) at FCL Mets (3-2), 12:00 pm ET, TBA

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