Three unearned runs in the top of the eighth inning gave the Cards the lead for good, as they won their second straight game on the current road trip.
Naturals' reliever Juan Abreu (0-1) couldn't hold a 3-2 lead. After a walk to Steven Hill to open the eighth, Tyler Henley reached on catcher's interference. Pete Kozma tried to bunt the runners over, but Abreu forced Hill at third for the first out. With a 3-2 count on Tony Cruz and one out, Henley and Kozma ran on the pitch. Cruz struck out for the second out, but Naturals' catcher Jeff Howell sailed his throw to third into left field, allowing Henley to score the tying run, evening the game at 3-3. Abreu followed with a wild pitch, allowing Kozma to reach third. One pitch later, Kozma scored on a passed ball off of Howell's glove, putting Springfield in front 4-3. After Colt Sedbrook walked and stole second, Jim Rapoport's RBI single made it a two-run game at 5-3.
Eduardo Sanchez came out of the bullpen and worked a 1-2-3 eighth, then pitched around a two-out walk in the ninth to notch his third save of the year.
Fernando Salas (1-0), who retired the only men he faced to end the seventh, picked up the win in relief.
Cruz's RBI single in the second put the Cards in front 1-0 over Naturals' starter Rowdy Hardy.
Cards' starter Ryan Kulik was solid, but took a no-decision. He allowed a pair of runs in the fifth, as the Naturals grabbed a two-run lead.
Steven Hill made that lead short-lived, as he rocked Hardy for a long home run to left field to open the sixth, tying the game at 2-2. For Hill, the homer was his team-leading 17th of the year.
David Lough took Kulik deep to put the Naturals in front in the sixth, as his fifth of the year made it a 3-2 game.
Kulik would depart after 6 2/3 innings, allowing just three runs on six hits, taking a no-decision.
Looking for their third straight win overall, the Cards (15-18, 53-50) will go with Scott Gorgen (1-3) on Saturday night, as he takes on Naturals' right-hander Anthony Lerew (6-5). Game time on Saturday will be 7:00pm.
After the seven-day road trip finishes up, the Cards return to Hammons Field to open a seven-game home stand against Arkansas and Tulsa, beginning on Tuesday, August 4th. Don't miss out on Bruce Sutter Bobblehead Giveaway on Saturday, August 8th, thanks to Hardee's. Tickets are available by calling (417) 863-2143 or online at springfieldcardinals.com.