The Naturals got a great start from Michael Mariot. The right-hander went seven and two-thirds innings allowing just four hits and no runs, while walking four and striking out just three. The Cardinals' Richard Castillo was equally as good. He went seven innings also allowing just four hits and no runs, while walking two and striking out seven.
The Naturals' (42-48) offense finally got on the board in the top of the ninth inning. Paulo Orlands came through with a home run, his third of the season, off of the Cardinals' closer Keith Butler to give the Naturals a 1-0 lead.
Ryan Dennick went to work on the mound in the ninth inning and set down the first two Cardinals in order. Former Natural, Jamie Romak, came through for the Cardinals with a two-out solo home run to tie the game at one and send it into extra innings.
The battle of the bullpens continued into the bottom of the thirteenth inning. Ethan Hollingsworth (0-6) surrendered a lead off double to Xavier Scruggs. Cardinals (48-41) manager Mike Shildt elected to pinch-run Adam Melker for Scruggs. Melker moved to third on a fly ball to right field from Audry Perez. The Naturals' then elected to intentionally walk Greg Garcia and Kolten Wong to load the bases. Hollingsworth unintentionally walked the next hitter Jermaine Curtis to force in Melker and give the Cardinals the 2-1 victory.
Kevin Thomas (3-0) worked a perfect inning in the top half of the thirteenth inning to earn his third win of the season.
The Naturals continue their four-game series against the Springfield Cardinals on Saturday at 6:08 PM. The Naturals will send left-hander Mike Montgomery (0-0, 0.00) against the Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez (1-2, 2.53). The game can be heard on ESPN 92.1 The Ticket.