The Cardinals minor league system went 3-5 on Thursday and the bullpens accounted for four losses and were a contributing factor in the fifth one. David Oca of the GCL Cards and Corey Littrell of Palm Beach each tossed 8 innings in starts and top 20 prospect Edmundo Sosa hit his third home run on the season.
The Memphis Redbirds lost a four run lead in the later innings and their ninth inning rally fell short in Omaha. Tommy Pham stayed hot with two more hits, including his 10th double. Over his last 10 games, Pham is hitting .409 with 18 hits. John Gast went 5 innings on the mound and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits. The Redbirds bullpen duo of Heath Wyatt and Miguel Socolovich combined for 2 innings and 4 earned runs.
The Springfield Cardinals were limited to just 5 hits in their shutout loss to Midland on Thursday night. Bruce Caldwell had the only extra base hit for the S-Cards, his 10th double of the season. UC-Irvine product Andrew Morales was strong on the mound for Springfield, going 6 innings and allowing just 5 hits while walking 4 and striking out 3. Chris Perry took the loss while walking 4 and allowing 3 runs over 1/3 of an inning.
The Palm Beach Cardinals were on the winning end of a shutout on Thursday as they held the Ft. Myers Miracle scoreless. Brett Wiley had two hits including his 19th double and his 31st RBI, the game winning score. Carson Kelly scored the lone run after his first triple of the season. Corey Littrell showed why he was named Florida State League Pitcher of the Month for July, going 8 innings and allowing just 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 6. Josh Lucas shut the door for his 7th save.
The Peoria Chiefs' bullpen spoiled a strong start from Matt Pearce en route to a loss in Dayton. Southeast Missouri State's own Derek Gibson had a big night at the plate, collecting two doubles and his first RBI for the Chiefs. Pearce went 6 innings and allowed 2 runs on 7 hits while walking 1 and striking 4 out. Cody Schumacher allowed 3 earned runs on 5 hits over 1 1/3 relief innings.
The State College Spikes remained the hottest Cardinal affiliate and one of the hottest in all of minor league baseball with their 11th straight win on Thursday. Thomas Spitz and Craig Aikin each had two hits from the top 2 spots in the lineup, while catcher Jose Godoy had a triple and an RBI. University of Connecticut product Carson Cross was impressive on the mound, going 6 innings and allowing 6 hits while striking out 5. Tyler Bray picked up his second save with two scoreless relief innings.
Kingsport 8, Johnson City 2
Bullpen implosions appear to be the "thing" from Thursday night as the Johnson City 'pen allowed 6 runs after the 7th inning. Edmundo Sosa and Magneuris Sierra each has two hits, with Sosa hitting his third long ball. Sierra raises his average to .342 on the season. Brennan Leitao went 5 innings and did not allow an earned run while striking out four. Steven Farinaro picked up his first loss with 2 runs (1 earned) over 2 innings. Juan Caballero followed Farinaro and allowed 3 runs in an inning.
The Gulf Coast Cardinals stayed hot with a shutout win behind a strong start from David Oca. Nick Plummer hit his 6th double of the season while Dylan Tice had the lone run batted in. Oca had the pitching performance of the night with 8 innings and just 2 hits allowed while striking out 9 batters. On the season, Oca has a 6-1 record with a 1.81 ERA.
The DSL Cards scored three runs in the top of the 9th to tie the game, but allowed a walk off in the bottom half. Starlin Balbuena had two hits while Irving Wilson hit a triple and drove in two runs. Juan Alvarez started for the DSL club and allowed 4 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5. Cristhian Lugo took his 4th loss while allowing the walk off in the 9th.