July 13, 2008

MiLB Cardinals ... Springfield nipped by Naturals

St. Louis Cardinals Double-A affiliate Springfield Cardinals played host to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals tonight at Hammons Field.

Starting pitcher Adam Ottavino got pasted in the first inning, the Naturals scoring five. Ottavino created his own nightmare after giving up a leadoff single by walking the next three hitters, giving up a free run. The Naturals made him pay far more than that, however, when Juan Richardson hit a grand slam, putting the Naturals up 5-0 with no one out. After a coaching visit to the mound. Ottavino settled down, getting the next three in a row.

The Double-A Cards got a couple back in the second inning. Allen Craig doubled to lead off the inning, later scoring on a throwing error. Andrew Brown would also score on a single by Casey Rowlett.

The Naturals made it 6-2 in the fourth, but any further rally was killed off when Ottavino made a pickoff attempt at first base and the Cards put out the base runner trying to steal second.

It wasn't until the fifth that Springfield answered that run, Tyler Green scored on a wild pitch.

Joshua Dew relieved Ottavino in the top of the seventh, keeping things scoreless for the Cards.

Still battling to catch up, Springfield managed a run in the eighth. Cody Haerther reached on a error, then scored on a double by Andrew Brown, bringing the Cards within two at 6-4.

Down two in the ninth, the Cards made some noise, Casey Rowlett drawing a walk, setting the table for pinch-hitter Matt Pagnozzi, who doubled to left field. Now with Rowlett on third and Pagnozzi representing the tying run at second, a potential winning run came to the plate in the form of Tyler Greene.

Greene grounded to short, Rowlett scoring while the defense went after and put out Pagnozzi. Down only one at 6-5, and with Greene now representing the tying run, the potential winning run shifted to Jose Martinez. Martinez, however, few out, Springfield falling short.