Dean Kiekhefer

Jake Westbrook - Photo Credit: J. Meric / Getty Images

July 1, 2011 – Cards Win Fourth Straight, Bandits Fall 5-3

The Cardinals beat the Rays 5-3 behind seven shutout innings by Jake Westbrook. Westbrook only allowed two hits, three walks and struck out seven. The Rays got three runs off of Lance Lynn in relief, but that was all. Colby Rasmus had four RBI, including a three-run home run in the top of the eighth. Fernando Salas earned his 14th save. The win was their fourth in a row and put the Cardinals’ record at 45-38, one game ahead of the Brewers.

CBS Sports – Wild eighth inning marks Cards’ win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Colby Rasmus’ home run set off fireworks on and off the field.

Rasmus hit a three-run shot during a wild eighth inning that featured four ejections, leading the St. Louis Cardinals past the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Friday night.

“Colby’s got so much talent,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “When he gets into a game, a lot of good things happen. If he can keep that up, good at-bats, what a huge asset he would be.”

Jake Westbrook gave up two hits in seven scoreless innings for St. Louis, which has won four straight.

Video Highlights:

Westbrook strikes out Brignac in the third

Rasmus’ RBI groundout

Minors: Lumberkings 5, River Bandits 3

Kolten Wong and Oscar Taveras went a combined 0 for 8 in this game. Despite that, the Bandits did rally to tie the game 3-3 in the bottom of the 8th. However, the Lumberkings got to Dean Kiekhefer in the top of the ninth for two runs and held on for the 5-3 win. The Bandits’ record dropped to 43-34.

Quad City Times – LumberKings find winning formula

After finishing 22 games below .500 during the first half, the Clinton LumberKings have taken a new approach to the second half of the Midwest League season. Manager Eddie Menchaca has his team keeping it simple.

“What we’re trying to do is win the inning, one inning at a time. We weren’t getting blown out in the first half. We had to clean up the little things and win innings,” said Menchaca, whose team is 5-3 since the all-star break.

Clinton let a two-run lead slip away in the eighth inning Friday at Modern Woodmen Park, but the LumberKings won the inning that mattered the most, scoring twice in the ninth to take home a 5-3 victory over the Quad-Cities River Bandits.

The loss was the fourth straight for Quad-Cities, equaling the team’s longest skid of the season.

Here are some photos from the game:

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Chris Carpenter (AP Photo Jeff Roberson)

June 17, 2011: Cards Lose Seventh Straight, Bandits Clinch Playoff Berth

The Cardinals lost their seventh straight game on this date in 2011. This was their longest losing streak of the season. They were swept by the Brewers and Nationals on the road, and this was the first game of a three game series versus the Royals.

The Cardinals lost this game 5-4. Chris Carpenter went eight innings, allowed 10 hits, five runs (four earned), one walk and struck out seven. He took the loss in this game, dropping his record to 1-7. The Cardinals scored all four of their runs in the third inning. They loaded the bases and Matt Holliday was hit by a pitch to force in a run, and then Lance Berkman hit a bases-clearing double. This gave them a 4-3 lead. The Royals tied the game in the top of the fourth and took a lead in the top of the 8th on an error by Albert Pujols. The reeling Cardinals dropped to 38-33 on the season and were in second place.

Video recap: Royals 5, Cardinals 4

CBS Sports – Pujols error gives Royals a victory in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS — Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar is known for his fielding. Lately, he has been doing plenty of damage with his bat.

Against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night, Escobar had two hits with a run scored in Kansas City’s 5-4 win. He also was part of the key play of the game: His hard groundball with two outs in the eighth inning eluded Albert Pujols and allowed Mike Moustakas to score the go-ahead run.

Pujols, a Gold Glover, was given an error on the play. Kansas City manager Ned Yost thought Escobar, who is 14 for 24 (.583) over his last seven games with eight runs scored, could have been credited with a hit.

“I don’t know how that’s ruled an error,” Yost said. “That’s a pretty tough hop, a pretty tough ball.”

River Bandits Clinch Playoff Berth

Down in the minors I was able to go to both the game on June 17 and 18 to see the River Bandits play the Peoria Chiefs. In the June 17 game, River Bandits pitching held the Chiefs to four hits. Jonathan Rodriguez homered and the Bandits won 4-1.

In the June 18 game, the Bandits won 6-1. They again held the Chiefs to four hits. Boone Whiting started and went seven innings, allowing only four hits and one run. He had six strikeouts and one walk. He lowered his ERA to 1.75 on the season. Dean Kiekhefer shut out the Chiefs the final two innings, allowing no hits. Ronny Gil and Nick Longmire each had two RBI, and Oscar Taveras went one for four with an RBI double.

The win on June 18 clinched a playoff berth for the Bandits, as the first half wild card team. Here is a Quad City Times article about that game:

QCTimes – River Bandits clinch playoff berth

Boone Whiting and the Quad-Cities River Bandits earned a Midwest League playoff berth Saturday night.

They had little choice.

Facing one of the most dominant pitchers in the league in Peoria’s Austin Kirk, Whiting and the River Bandits were strictly business from the start of a 6-1 victory in front of a crowd of 5,924 at Modern Woodmen Park.

“I knew I was facing a real good pitcher, somebody who wasn’t going to give up many runs,” Whiting said. “I had to be on top of my game.”

Whiting, who began the season in the Quad-Cities bullpen, picked up his first victory of the season in just his third start, striking out six and walking one batter while scattering four hits over seven innings.

“Whiting set the tone from the first inning,” River Bandits manager Johnny Rodriguez said. “He didn’t give them a chance.”

With the victory, Quad-Cities (39-29) assured itself of the chance to own home-field advantage for the opening round of postseason play as the first-half wildcard winner in the Western Division.