Smith, Whittleman pluck Cardinals

Teammates combine for 13 RBIs in RoughRiders' 18-4 rout

Tim Smith is batting .352 with 30 RBIs in 27 games in the Texas League. (Bill Mitchell/Four Seam Images)

By Brittany Ghiroli / Special to | July 4, 2009 9:01 PM ET

The fireworks at Hammons Field on Saturday night had little to do with Independence Day.

Tim Smith smacked a grand slam and drove in a career-high seven runs, while John Whittleman homered twice and added six RBIs to power the Frisco RoughRiders to an 18-4 rout of the Springfield Cardinals.

Smith reached base four times with an RBI single, walk and error to complement his blast with the bases loaded in the third inning.

"I was just looking for a pitch I could hit toward the outfield and got a pretty good swing on it," Smith said of his first career grand slam. "I was just trying to score at least one run."

The right fielder did more than that, shattering the career high for RBIs he established exactly a week ago. He deflected credit for that statistic to his teammates more than his clutch hitting.

It's understandable, considering that nine of the RoughRiders' 13 hits were for extra bases. Frisco scored 15 runs in the first four innings, making the box score read more like the 12 Days of Christmas than the Fourth of July.

"I think we just feed off each other," Smith said.

Whittleman went yard in the first and sixth innings, drew three walks and scored three times. Chad Tracy also homered twice, doubled and plated three runs for the RoughRiders.

"I think people have even more success when you have about a 10-run lead," Smith said. "Everyone's having fun and it kind of spreads around the dugout. You don't go up there pressing, you don't go up there stiff, the momentum kind of carries over."

The Cardinals used six pitchers, only one of whom escaped without allowing a run. In contrast, Frisco's Omar Poveda notched his seventh win after allowing three runs on six hits over five innings.

"Coming into pro ball, coaches stress it's always going to be easier to get into the bullpen early," said Smith, the Rangers' seventh-round pick in the 2007 Draft. "As a hitter, sometimes you have to kind of sacrifice yourself. Instead of jumping on the first or second pitch, you will eventually get your pitch [deeper in the count].

"It's all about everybody putting together good at-bats."

Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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