August 1, 2013 - Texas League (TL) - Arkansas Travelers
North Little Rock, Arkansas - The Arkansas Travelers rallied for five runs in the second inning with a grand slam (14) by Taylor Lindsey the highlight during a 5-3 victory over the Springfield Cardinals on Thursday night at Dickey-Stephens Park.
Lindsey smacked the Travs' second grand slam of the season and first in 103 games off Ben Petrick (2-1), who suffered his first career loss.
With four straight victories the Travs' 24-17 second-half record remains two games better than the NW Arkansas Naturals, who earned a 5-3 victory over the Tulsa Drillers. Springfield drops to 19-22 in the second half, five games behind the Travelers.
Early on starting pitcher Michael Roth struggled with two runs allowed in the first inning on two walks and a pair of two-out base hits. Luis Mateo walked and stole two bases, making it to third with one out. After a walk to Ruben Gotay, Roth faced Xavier Scruggs but first picked off Gotay and caught him stealing second base. Scruggs though poked a single through the right side knocking in Mateo. Stephen Piscotty followed with a double to the right-field corner for a 2-0 Cardinals lead.
Roth wiggled out of a jam in the second inning which he started with a single allowed to Starling Rodriguez and a walk to Jake Lemmerman. Casey Rasmus bunted foul twice and attempted again to bunt but again fouled the ball off his foot for a strikeout. Roth then got Mateo to ground to Jimmy Swift at shortstop to start a double play.
The big second inning began with a walk to Travis Witherspoon. After the first out, Ryan Jones and Swift collected back-to-back singles knocking in Witherspoon. Then Randal Grichuk beat out a high chopper halfway to third base to load the bases for Lindsey, who walloped the next pitch way past the right-field for the go-ahead grand slam.
Roth exited after the fourth inning retiring seven of the last eight batters he faced. Caleb Graham (W, 5-1) pitched around a walk and single in the fifth inning thanks to a nice double play turned by Swift. With Lemmerman and second and Casey Rasmus at first base and no outs, Swift fielded a ground ball hit by Mateo at second base. He stepped on the bag with his right foot and threw all at the same time for two outs. Graham grabbed a hard grounder to the mound hit by Colin Walsh for the third out.
Matt Oye took over in the sixth inning allowing a leadoff homer (13) to Gotay, but retired the next three batters holding a 5-3 lead after the top of the sixth.
Oye set the Cards down in order in the seventh inning and came back for the eighth allowing a one-out double by Colin Walsh which brought Gotay up representing the winning run. However Oye struck him out on three pitches then exited in favor of Michael Morin, who ended the inning with a punch out of Xavier Scruggs.
Morin pitched around a single by James Ramsey in the ninth inning and struck out pinch hitter Adam Melker to end the game with his third save.
The Travelers and Cardinals return to Dickey-Stephens Park Friday night for the second of this four-game series. Travs righty Manny Correa (4-10, 5.35) takes the mound against Springfield lefty Tim Cooney (6-6, 4.03) at 7:10 p.m. Coverage of the game begins at 6:45 on Sports Animal 920 and the IHeartRadio and Tune-In Radio Apps.