Springdale, AR - The Springfield Cardinals jumped in front with four runs in the third inning and never looked back, cruising to the 9-3 win against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals before 7,400 fans at Arvest Ballpark on Wednesday afternoon.
Springfield (13-13) struck first in the top of the third frame against LHP Noel Arguelles (L, 1-4). SS Vance Albitz and LF Mike O'Neill started the rally with back-to-back walks, before CF Tommy Pham drove both home with his league-leading sixth triple of the year. After a walk put runners on the corners, Pham darted home on a double play ball hit by DH Chris Swauger, making it 3-0. With the bases clear and two away, 1B Xavier Scruggs reached on an error and moved to second on a balk. 2B Starlin Rodriguez then ripped an RBI double to left field, plating Scruggs for the 4-0 lead.
RHP Seth Blair (W, 1-3) retired the first six Naturals he faced in a row, but 1B Matt Fields swung Northwest Arkansas (9-17) onto the board with a solo homer in the bottom of the third, cutting the Cardinals lead to 4-1.
However, Springfield stretched the lead right back out in the top of the fifth. 3B Ruben Gotay worked a one-out walk and quickly moved to second base on a Swauger single. Scruggs then lined an RBI base hit to center field, making it 5-1.
After DH Manny Pina brought the Naturals within three runs with a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth, the Cardinals struck again in the top of the sixth. RF Adam Melker led off with a double and made his way to third base on a ground out. After a pop out, O'Neill ripped an RBI base hit to center, bringing Melker home for the 6-2 advantage.
The Naturals started the bottom of the sixth with three consecutive singles, including an RBI base hit by C Mitch Canham, bringing Blair's outing to a close. However, LHP Justin Wright took over and got the Cardinals out of the remainder of the frame with no further damage and the Cardinals leading, 6-3.
Springfield continued the barrage with single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Swauger struck in the seventh with a solo homer and his league-best 21st RBI, and then Pham drove in his third run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Scruggs led off the top of the ninth with a towering solo home run to straight-away center field, stretching the lead to six runs.
After two scoreless innings from RHP Deryk Hooker, RHP Michael Blazek struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth, closing the 9-3 win for the Cardinals.
Click here for the complete box score from Wednesday's game.
The Cardinals continue the road series in Northwest Arkansas on Thursday at 7 p.m. Catch all the action live on JOCK 98.7FM and SpringfieldCardinals.com, and tune in 15 minutes early for the Coyote's Sports Cafe Pregame Show.
Springfield returns home to begin an eight-game homestand this Saturday with a 6:09 p.m. First Pitch against the Tulsa Drillers. Don't miss your last chance to get an exclusive piece of Springfield Cardinals history with the 2012 Texas League Championship Replica Ring Giveaway (2,500 fans). Gates open at 5:09 p.m.
Click below to view the full 2013 Promotional Schedule and to get your tickets right now.
For information about becoming a Season Ticket Holder, ordering the new Friday, Saturday, and Promo Items Packs (only 100 available), the custom-designed Championship Packs (only 100 available) or ordering Individual Game Tickets right now, call the Front Office at (417) 863-0395 or visit SpringfieldCardinals.com.
Click here for the Cardinals full 2013 Promotional Schedule.
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