SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI (AUGUST 14, 2014) - Right-handed starting pitcher Kyle Hald presided over seven scoreless innings and the Springfield Cardinals locked down the Frisco RoughRiders' offense for a second straight outing and took the three-game series with a 6-2 win on Thursday night.
Hald (9-4) picked up his second win of the season against the 'Riders and surrendered a pair of base hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Much like Wednesday night's starter, Kurt Heyer, Hald stymied Frisco offensively and allowed multiple baserunners in only one inning.
With the loss, Frisco (70-52; 30-23) loses the season series against the Cardinals and finishes 5-7 against the Double-A redbirds for the second year in a row.
Springfield (57-65; 23-29) wins the final two games of the series, but remains nine games back of Arkansas in the race for the second playoff spot in the North Division.
The night began on an ominous note for the RoughRiders, who fell behind early and never recovered. Springfield loaded the bases with one out against starter Andrew Faulkner (1-2) and a subsequent fielding error on Odubel Herrera brought in Breyvic Valera for the first run of the game. Valera likely would have scored even if Herrera had secured the groundball cleanly, but the 'Riders were unable to register an out and the bases stayed full.
Faulkner then walked Rafael Ortega to bring home the Cardinals' second run and the home team grabbed a 3-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Alex Mejia. The sequence turned into a double play as the 'Riders caught Patrick Wisdom in a rundown to put an end to the inning.
In the second, Springfield turned on the power switch, but an unlikely candidate supplied the jolt. Backup catcher Travis Tartamella, who played in every game of the series because of an injury to regular backstop Cody Stanley, took Faulkner deep for a solo home run to make the score 4-0 Cardinals.
The moon shot was Tartamella's first of the season and just his tenth in 257 career games over six years in the minors.
Faulkner steadied himself and cruised through the next two frames, but again struggled with command in the fifth. The southpaw allowed consecutive walks and left the game with one out in favor of Ryan Rodebaugh. Springfield made the 'Riders pay for the two free trips to first when Curt Smith, the walk-off hero from Wednesday night, pegged Frisco for another RBI base knock.
Dug into a 5-0 hole, the RoughRiders fell further behind on an RBI single by Mejia in the eighth. The 'Riders had committed two errors in the frame, both with two outs, and the Cardinals scored their third unearned run of the contest.
Nonetheless, Frisco played with pride in the top of the ninth. J.T. Wise doubled with two outs and Herrera spoiled the Springfield shutout bid with an RBI two-bagger of his own.
Teodoro Martinez then batted Herrera in on a single to make the final score a more respectable 6-2 result and prevent the RoughRiders' fifth shutout of 2014.
The RoughRiders continue their six-game road swing to the North Division in Tulsa with a 7:05 p.m. contest against the Drillers on Friday night. Coverage begins with the Frisco RoughRiders Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. on www.ridersbaseball.com. For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.