Jonathan Rodriguez

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.

Photo Source: Harry How/Getty Images

April 17, 2011: A Dreary April Continues

The Cardinals had another tough loss on this date in 2011 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Chris Carpenter threw seven shutout innings, with six strikeouts, no walks and five hits. He was outdone however by Chad Billingsly, who threw eight shutout innings, with 11 strikeouts, three hits and two walks. The game would go to the ninth inning tied 0-0. In the top of the ninth, David Freese singled off of Jonathan Broxton, scoring Matt Holliday. Holliday was the bright spot on offense, going three for three with a walk and two doubles. In the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Franklin blew the save, again. He gave up a two-run walk-off home run to Matt Kemp. This was already Franklin’s fourth blown save of 2011. The loss dropped the Cardinals’ record to 8-8.

Cardinals @ Dodgers Highlights 4/17/2011

CBS article:

Kemp’s two-run blast gives Dodgers win over Cardinals

Chad Billingsley cooled off one of baseball’s hottest offenses through eight innings before Matt Kemp got to Ryan Franklin again. This time, his homer salvaged a victory for the struggling Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kemp hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday that ended the Dodgers’ five-game skid.

“It’s one way to turn the page,” new Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “We talked about getting that rock rolling a different direction. It’s got to start somewhere and that’s a pretty good start there.”

Kemp homered to center field on the first pitch he saw from Franklin (0-2), who has four blown saves in five chances. He did the same thing against Franklin in the series opener, but the Dodgers lost 9-5.

Bandits Shut Out In Both Games Of Doubleheader

The River Bandits played another early-season doubleheader due to a rainout on April 15. It wasn’t pretty. They got shutout in both games of the doubleheader and only managed three hits all day. Again, doubleheaders are only seven inning games in the Midwest League, but still. This was part of a longer stretch of futility – they had a 28 inning scoreless streak.

Seth Blair started game one and only went two-thirds of an inning, but weirdly he only allowed two runs (one earned). Blair was not hurt or anything. Manager Johnny Rodriguez just had a real quick hook. Victor Sanchez and Michael Swinson had the two hits for the River Bandits. In game two, Anthony Ferrera started and went four innings, allowing four earned runs. Jonathan Rodriguez had the only River Bandits’ hit, in the last inning of the game off of Daniel Tenholder. Nearly a no-hitter, but it would have been a combined, seven inning no-hitter, so I don’t know if that really counts. The pair of losses dropped the River Bandits’ record to 5-5.

Bees @ River Bandits Game 1 Box Score

Bees @ River Bandits Game 2 Box Score

Quad City Times article:

Bandits swept as scoreless streak reaches 28 innings

Jonathan Rodriguez was determined not to give Burlington any more to celebrate than a doubleheader sweep Sunday at Modern Woodmen Park.

The Quad-Cities infielder led off the bottom of the seventh inning of the nightcap by lashing a full-count pitch into center, a single that separated three Bees from a combined no-hitter in a 4-0 shutout of the River Bandits.

“Someone had to do it. We weren’t going to make it easy for them. I tried to get a good cut,” Rodriguez said. “They had already shut us down in the first game and we weren’t going to let a no-hitter happen. Everybody was trying to get us going.”

Here are more pictures from this dreary doubleheader (the season gets better, I promise):

Seth Blair

Seth Blair

 Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez

Yunier Castillo

Yunier Castillo

Packy Elkins

Packy Elkins slides back on a pickoff attempt

Cody Stanley

Cody Stanley

Can you spot the ball?

Can you spot the ball?