Michael Swinson

Carlos Martinez

May 26, 2011 – River Bandits Play At Busch Stadium, Carlos Martinez Starts

The Cardinals were off this day for a travel day. Their record stood at 30-21. They had just won two out of three from the Padres and were on their way to Colorado to play the Rockies. This left Busch Stadium wide open for another special event: the River Bandits played a regular season game against the Kane County Cougars there on this date in 2011.

It has become somewhat of an annual tradition in the Midwest League teams to square off in a major league park. A number of games like this have happened at Miller Park in Milwaukee and Wrigley Field between Midwest League teams. However, this is the only time the River Bandits have played a regular season game in an MLB venue before or since. I made the trip down for the game. It was freakishly cold for that time of year, which was unfortunate. It kept the crowd size small, since they were relying almost 100% on walk-ups to attend the game.

Carlos Martinez pitching for the River Bandits in Busch Stadium

Carlos Martinez pitching for the River Bandits in Busch Stadium

Carlos Martinez started this game for the Bandits. He pitched well, but he did get the loss. He allowed seven hits and one run over five innings. He had five strikeouts against one walk.

It was a hard fought game. The Cougars led 3-0 through six innings. Geulin Beltre and Alex Llanos each had three hits for the Cougars, and Beltre had two RBI. Leonel Santiago kept the Bandits’ bats in check. He allowed only three hits and one walk over six shutout innings. The Bandits’ finally got on the board in the eighth inning when Robert Stock and Starlin Rodriguez each singled. Stock was advanced and scored on fielder’s choices. In the bottom of the ninth, the Bandits got a couple walks, a single and an error to score another run. But they left the potential tying and winning runs at second and third when Michael Swinson grounded out to end the game.

It was a surreal experience seeing the River Bandits’ and Cougars’ logos on the big screens and ribbon boards at Busch Stadium. Almost as strange was seeing Busch Stadium so empty while a game was going on. Seeing all the concessions stands closed save for one or two was also really strange.

Quad City Times – Bandits rally falls short in St. Louis

The Quad-Cities River Bandits just couldn’t get the big hit they needed in their first game in a big-league stadium.

Michael Swinson grounded out with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning as Kane County held on for a 3-2 Midwest League victory at Busch Stadium.

Quad-Cities, playing in a major-league stadium for the first time in franchise history, was limited to six hits at the home of their parent club, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Here are more pictures from the game (click for larger):


Nick Punto triples

April 29, 2011 – Bandits Lose 6-4, Cards Win In Extras

The Cardinals beat the Braves 5-3 in 11 innings on this date in 2011. Once again I chose a game started by Chris Carpenter to highlight. Carpenter went seven innings, allowed three earned runs, two walks and had three strikeouts. He allowed two home runs – one to Jason Heyward (his seventh) and one to Nate McLouth. The Cardinals got two runs in the fourth inning on a sac fly by Yadier Molina and a single by Daniel Descalso. Craig Kimbrel was brought in for the ninth inning with the Braves leading 3-2. Molina singled to lead off the ninth, and Tyler Greene pinch ran for him. Ryan Theriot then singled and Descalso hit a sac fly to tie the game. In the top of the eleventh inning, Theriot was hit by a pitch, Mark Hamilton drew a walk, and Nick Punto hit a two-run triple. In the bottom of the eleventh, Jason Motte walked Dan Uggla then struck out the next two batters. Lefty Trever Miller was brought in to face McLouth, and he got him to fly out to end the game. The win improved the Cardinals’ record to 15-11.

MLB.com Highlights:

CBS Sports – Punto’s triple in 11th lifts Cards over Braves

On a tough day for the Braves, Nick Punto just added to their misery.

Punto drove in two runs with an 11th-inning triple after St. Louis rallied in the ninth, giving the surging Cardinals a 5-3 victory over Atlanta on Friday night.

Braves rookie Cory Gearrin (0-1) dug his own hole, plunking Ryan Theriot in the left leg and walking pinch-hitter Mark Hamilton. The right-hander was one out away from escaping, but Punto drove one into the right-field corner for the first big league hit allowed by Gearrin in 4 2/3 innings since being called up.

“I was looking for a fastball. I got a fastball, middle in, and put some good wood on it,” Punto said. “It didn’t hit anybody. It landed in the corner, so we got a couple of runs.”

Bandits Fall To Kernels

The River Bandits lost to the Cedar Rapids Kernels 6-4. The Bandits scored one run in the bottom of the first on three singles. The Kernels got a walk, single, hit by pitch, and then a three-run double in the top of the second. The score stayed that way all the way to the ninth inning. The Kernels got three more runs on a walk, two singles, an error and a wild pitch. The Bandits got three runs in the bottom of the ninth on a few singles and a double but the comeback bid came up short. Packy Elkins went three for three with two walks and two RBIs for the Bandits. Michael Swinson went two for three with a walk and a run scored. The Bandits’ record dropped to 10-11.

Quad City Times – Sloppy play costs Bandits in defeat

A smart start by Seth Blair was followed by a sloppy finish by his Quad-Cities teammates Friday.

A throwing error by Jonathan Rodriguez opened the door for Cedar Rapids to score three times in the top of the ninth inning, more than enough for the Kernels to withstand a three-run River Bandits rally in the bottom half of the inning and hold on for a 6-4 Midwest League victory at Modern Woodmen Park.

“We did not play smart at the end,” Quad-Cities manager Johnny Rodriguez said. “We did not make a good throw into the infield (after a Wes Hatton RBI single) and we should not have made the throw to second. There was no play there.”

Rodriguez said the sloppiness and decision making will be addressed in the team’s early work today.