By: Jim Tsapelas
For the second consecutive day the St. Louis Cardinals made good use of base running opportunities as they defeated the Miami Marlins by the score of four to three; in the first game of the 2016 Grapefruit League season. On Wednesday, the Cardinals had a thirteen to six come from behind victory over the Number 15th Ranked Florida Atlantic University Owls. A running game, making good use of speed, hit and run opportunities, a Hallmark of the Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog in the 1980’s; has been evident in the first two competitive games played by the Redbirds this Spring Training.
Both the Marlins and the Cardinals took advantage of scoring opportunities in the first inning of play. Marlins center-fielder, Marcell Ozuma hit his first home run of the Grapefruit League play with one out and nobody on base. Ozuma hit a Tyler Lyon’s pitch deep to left field. In the home half of the first, Tommy Pham hit a triple to Miami’s right-fielder Cole Gillespie. A throwing error by second baseman Dee Gordon allowed Pham to score. Pham’s speed aided in the run scored. At the end of one, score knotted at one.
In the bottom of the second, non-roster invitee Carlos Peguero doubles to second-scoring Brandon Moss. Peguero scored on a Stephen Piscotty ground out. Score Miami one-Cardinals three.
The Marlins tie the score in the top of the sixth. Miami’s Justin Maxwell hits his first home run of the spring to left-field off of the non-roster invitee pitcher Jeremy Hefner. With Hefner still on the mound, Miguel Rojas scores on a Kenny Wilson single to right-field. Score tied at three.
The Cardinals score their fourth and winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning, with non-roster invitee David Washington batting, a wild pitch thrown by Miami’s Chris Naverson scores Charlie Tilson. Tilson has scored in both the exhibition game on Wednesday and in Thursday’s Grapefruit League opener. As a minor leaguer, Tilson has seventy-four career stolen bases; having stolen forty-six in 2015 at AA-Springfield of the Texas League.”
Picking up the win for St. Louis was Jeremy Hefner (1-0). Cardinal’s starter, Tyler Lyons worked three innings, allowed three hits, one earned run, walked and struck out none; and allowed the home run to Ozuma. Jonathon Broxton worked the fourth inning allowing one hit. Trevor Rosenthal pitched in the fifth inning, allowing one walk and striking out two. The winner, Hefner, in addition to picking-up his first win got tagged with his first blown save. Hefner pitched the sixth and seventh innings, allowing three hits, two runs, one earned run, walking no one and striking out one. Hefner also allowed the Maxwell home run. Jayson Aquino who was claimed off waivers in the offseason from Cleveland, threw the eighth inning; walking one. Dean Kiekhefer pitched the ninth, earning his first save; while striking out one.
In a January 11th article Five MilB Players to Watch This Spring, I wrote, “Left-handed reliever Dean Kiekhefer was selected by the Cardinals in the thirty-sixth round of the 2010 Amateur Draft. In six MiLB seasons, Kiekhefer recorded forty saves in fifty-three opportunities. His career MiLB record is 14-15-with an ERA of 2.73 with a WHIP of 1.11.”
Taking the loss for Miami was Chris Naverson (0-1).
On Friday, the Cardinals play the visitor’s role as the Redbirds are hosted by the Houston Astros at 12:05pm CST.
Spring Training Odds and Ends:
Coming out of spring the Cardinals have a wealth of set-up men to pitch prior to the ninth inning. Included in this group are Seung Hwan Oh, Jonathan Broxton, and Kevin Siegrist.
It is good to see manager Mike Matheny taking an early interest in using his players in running situations this spring. A running game has not been a large part of the Cardinals recent history.
Thanks for reading!