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Minor-league report: Cardinals prospect Matthew Liberatore tosses six scoreless frames

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Cardinals open series against Dodgers

The Cardinals’ Matthew Liberatore pitches in the fifth inning against the Dodgers on July 12, 2022, at Busch Stadium.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fresh off a start where he allowed four runs and could not make it through the first inning, left-hander Matthew Liberatore made quick work of the first batter he faced on Thursday night against Gwinnett.

Liberatore struck out leadoff hitter Jake Marisnick on three pitches and finished him with a 96 mph fastball. That strikeout was one of seven the 22-year-old collected across six scoreless innings against the Stripers.

Along with Liberatore’s scoreless start, these are some of the notable performances from around the Cardinals minor-leagues:

Hits

Left-handed pitcher Matthew Liberatore, Class AAA Memphis: The most trouble Liberatore ran into came in the fifth inning when he loaded the bases with no outs. He was aided by Scott Hurst, who caught a fly ball in center field and threw out a runner at home to turn two and save a run. He capped off his start by striking out Gwinnett left fielder Justyn-Henry Malloy with a 94 mph fastball that marked his 93rd pitch of the night.

Liberatore’s start lowered his ERA to 5.12 and was his third start of at least six innings across his last five starts. Following Thursday, Liberatore likely has one more start left before Memphis’ season ends on Wednesday.

Left-handed pitcher T.J. McFarland, Class AAA Memphis: In relief of Liberatore, McFarland pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning and induced two groundouts on 14 pitches. McFarland’s scoreless inning provided a bounce back from his last start, during which he gave up two runs and a home run on Sept. 17. McFarland has given up six runs and allowed 11 hits in his last 12 innings for the Redbirds.

Third baseman Delvin Perez, Class AAA Memphis: Aside from providing a memorable moment on a fly out that he thought was a home run, Perez went one-for-four and drove in two of Memphis’ six runs on Thursday. Both of Perez’s RBIs came around on a line drive single in the eighth inning. The pair of RBIs were Nos. 12 and 13in 44 games since he made his debut for Memphis. In limited playing time at Class AAA, Perez is slashing .231/.310/.346.

Right-handed pitcher Freddy Pacheco, Class AAA Memphis: Despite allowing one hit and a walk in the ninth inning of Memphis’ win, Pacheco struck out three batters and got through the frame without any damage. Pacheco’s three strikeouts gives him 24 in his last 17 1/3 innings. During that span, he has pitched to a 2.08 over 14 appearances since the start of August.

Outfielder Scott Hurst, Class AAA Memphis: Hurst saved a run when he threw a runner out at the plate in the fifth inning and later produced one of his own. The Cal State Fullerton product singled home the Redbirds’ sixth run of the night when he stepped to the plate in the eighth inning. Hurst is batting .277 with an .819 OPS in 86 games as Redbird.

First baseman Roberto Baldoquin, Class AAA Memphis: Baldoquin made his impact both at the plate and at first base against Gwinnett. The 28-year-old went three-for-four with two runs scored and made a diving play at first base that saw him lay completely out to prevent a hit. The three hit game from Baldoquin improved his average as a Redbird to .271. In his last 23 at-bats for Memphis, Baldoquin is eight-for-23 (.358) and has walked six times giving him a .483 on-base percentage.

Misses

Second baseman Nolan Gorman, Class AAA Memphis: Gorman’s struggles at the plate in his return to the minors continued on Thursday as he went zero-for-three with two strikeouts. The pair of strikeouts gives Gorman eight in 12 at-bats since he was optioned on Monday. He hasn’t hit safely and reached safely only once with a walk, which came on Thursday against Gwinnett, in three games back in the minors. He batted .139 and struck out 15 times in 29 MLB at-bats before his option.

Daniel Guerrero

@TheDanielGuerrero on Twitter

dguerrerro@post-dispatch.com

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