The Cardinals grabbed the lead in the bottom of the third inning. They picked up two runs on a pair of sacrifice flies from Vance Albitz and Kolten Wong to make it a 2-0 game.
The red birds did not stop there picking up a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Catcher Audry Perez ripped a two-run single to center field to double the Cardinals lead to 4-0. The Naturals offense answered with a run in the top of the fifth on an RBI double from Carlo Testa to cut the deficit to 4-1.
Xavier Scruggs capped a three-run bottom of the fith inning with a two-run double blow open the game for the Cardinals making it 7-1. Yordano Ventura (0-1) went four and two-thirds innings in his Double-A debut allowing nine hits and seven runs, while issuing two walks and striking out four.
Johnny Whittleman cut into the deficit in the top half of the sixth inning with his team leading fourteenth home run of the season. Manny Pina made it back-to-back home runs for the Naturals, belting his second home run of the season just three pitches later to make it a 7-3 game. Cardinals' starter Seth Maness (7-1) went five and two-thirds innings surrendering five hits and three runs, while striking out seven.
The Cardinals' (50-41) offense would not be out done. Adam Melker blasted his fourth home run of the season to left-field to lead off the bottom half of the sixth inning, pushing the Cards lead back to 8-3.
The Naturals (42-50) offense would answer back in the top of the seventh inning, loading the bases with no one out. Testa reached on a dropped third strike by Perez, Mario Lisson worked a walk, and Alex McClure followed with a single to load the bases. Yem Prades drove in Testa with a sacrifice fly to make it an 8-4 game. The Cardinals' reliever Michael Blazek got Ray Navarro to ground into a double-play to avoid any further damage.
Jon Keck worked the last inning and a third without allowing a hit and striking out three. Keck extended his scoreless streak to nine innings and has not given up a run since June 29.
The Naturals loaded the bases with no one out against the Cardinals' Eric Fornataro. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt then summoned his closer Keith Butler. Prades came through with a sacrifice fly to pull the Naturals within three making it 8-5. Ray Navarro followed with an RBI single to pull the Naturals within two. Butler was able to get Brian Fletcher to ground into a double-play to end the Naturals threat and earn his seventeenth save of the season.
The Naturals will begin a four-game series at home against the Arkansas Travelers on Monday at 7:05 PM. They will send left-hander Noel Arguelles (2-9, 7.23) to the mound against the Travelers right-hander Orangel Arenas (2-7, 5.72). The game can be heard on ESPN 92.1 The Ticket.