By: Justin Terry
The Palm Beach Cardinals (51-71, 19-35) took advantage of a six run first inning sparked by Chris Rivera’s grand slam to take an 8-6 win from the Bradenton Marauders (63-59, 25-29) on Thursday evening at Roger Dean Stadium.
The Cardinals took a 6-0 lead in the first inning to catapult to an 8-6 victory. Sandy Alcantara (0-2, 4.40 ERA) got the start for the Cardinals as he gave up four runs on six hits walking none and striking out five. Juan Herrera got things going for the Cardinals in the first by hitting a one out double and was plated by a Casey Grayson single after a Michael Pritchard walk to make it 1-0. Danny Diekreoger, in his first at bat off the DL, was hit by a pitch with two outs on the board to load the bases for Junior Fernandez. JT Brubaker (2-6, 5.90 ERA) walked Junior Fernandez to make it 2-0 in favor of the Cardinals. Chris Rivera came up with the bases loaded and turned on a 1-0 fastball to put it over the left field fence giving his team a 6-0 lead after one.
Bradenton got on the board in the fourth as Kevin Kramer led off the inning with a single and got to third on a Conner Joe one-out double. Jordan Luplow then shattered his bat on a groundout to third that brought across Kramer to make it a 6-1 game.
Bradenton then made it interesting in the fifth bringing the game to within one at 6-5. Christian Kelly started the frame with a double and got to third on a Pablo Reyes single. Alcantara loaded the bases by hitting Tito Polo with a pitch. Justin Maffei sacrificed in Kelly to make it a 6-2 game. The Cardinals went to the pen and brought in Blake McKnight to relieve Alcantara. Kevin Kramer took the fourth pitch he saw from McKnight over the left field fence to make it a 6-5 ballgame.
The Cardinals got one back in the sixth and made it 7-5. Juan Herrera, Pritchard and Grayson all started off the inning with singles to load the bases for Dylan Tice. Tice lined out to shallow left and Diekroger ground into a fielder’s choice that got Herrera out at home. Fernandez came to the plate and for the second time in the game, drew a walk that drove in a run.
Bradenton got another run in the seventh as Pablo Reyes started things with a triple and was brought home on a Polo single that brought the game to within one once again at 7-6. Cody Schumacher entered the game and got three outs to take the one run lead to the bottom of the seventh.
Cardinals scored another run in the seventh to make it a two run game at 8-6. Andrew Sohn singled, got to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mercado and was brought home on a Casey Grayson single. Schumacher then worked a scoreless eighth and Kyle Grana worked a scoreless ninth for his sixth save of the season.
The Cardinals will start a three game series tonight against the St. Lucie Mets, as it will be the last time the Mets play at Roger Dean Stadium this season.