Postcard from Cardinals camp for Saturday, March 11

By Rob Rains

Weather: 81 degrees, sunny

Result: Cardinals 2, Braves 2 (10 innings)


JUPITER, Fla. – This has been a pretty tough spring for Todd Cunningham, but he finally had something to smile about on Saturday.

Cunningham, a non-roster outfielder, had been 1-for-18 before his two-hit day, a double in the seventh inning and a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning that rallied the Cardinals from a 2-1 deficit. The game was called after a scoreless 10th inning.

Cunningham is battling for one of the two spots open for backup outfielders, a competition that includes Jose Martinez, Tommy Pham and Jordan Shafer.

Other news and notes from Saturday;


High:
The first Cardinals’ run came on Matt Adams’ second homer of the spring. After beginning the exhibition schedule 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts, Adams has gone 6-for-13 with the two homers and four RBIs.

Low:
Former Frontier League player Balbino Fuenmayor launched a home run off Kevin Siegrist in the sixth inning that gave the Braves a 2-1 lead. Fuenmayor played for the Frontier Greys in 2013, a traveling team which did not play home games during the independent league's season, before spending the last two seasons in the Kansas City farm system.

At the plate: The Cardinals had a chance to win the game in the ninth after Cunningham’s single. A wild pitch on strike three to Chad Huffman let him reach base to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Patrick Wisdom struck out to end the inning … Dexter Fowler was the only regular besides Adams with a hit, getting his first triple of the spring … Matt Carpenter played first base for the second time since he injured his back but was replaced by a pinch-hitter for his first turn at-bat in the third.

On the mound
: John Gant pitched three perfect innings in his second start of the spring, striking out three. He has allowed one run and has not walked a batter in eight innings. “We’re taking a close look at him,” said acting manager and bench coach David Bell. Gant was facing his former team, having been acquired from the Braves in the Jaime Garcia trade. “I saw a lot of familiar faces,” he said. “It’s fun to compete against friends, guys you played with before.” Gant is making himself a strong candidate for the final long-relief spot in the bullpen … A misplay by shortstop Wilfredo Tovar, which was ruled a hit, cost Jonathan Broxton a run in the fourth … Brett Cecil worked one scoreless inning and prospects Jack Flaherty and Daniel Poncedeleon each pitched two scoreless innings.

In the clubhouse: 
 Manager Mike Matheny had to leave the stadium Saturday morning to return home because he wasn’t feeling well. Bell said he got a text message from Matheny after the game saying he expected to be back in camp on Sunday … Shortstop Aledmys Diaz has missed the last three games because of a leg cramp, but Bell said Diaz was able to take grounders at full speed on Saturday and might be able to play on Sunday. “There’s no reason to rush him,” Bell said … The members of the Gulf Coast League champion Cardinals from last season received their championship rings in a pre-game ceremony.

Up next
: Adam Wainwright will make his third start of the spring on Sunday as the Cardinals play the Marlins. They will be the visiting team. Luke Weaver also is projected to pitch; he has been out since March 1 because of back spasms.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains