Springfield, MO - The Northwest Arkansas Naturals rallied in the top of the ninth to come from behind for the 5-4 win against the Springfield Cardinals before 5,474 fans at Hammons Field on Thursday night.
The Cardinals (8-12, 42-48) picked up right where they left off on Wednesday, swinging in front in the bottom of the second inning on Thursday. After RHP Christian Binford retired the inning's first two outs, 3B Patrick Wisdom crushed his 11th home run of the year, a solo shot to left field, to make it 1-0.
The Naturals (10-10, 35-55) had a quick answer in the top of the third against RHP Kurt Heyer. With one away, C Parker Morin drove a solo home run of his own to right field, evening it early on at 1-1.
Springfield dealt the next blow to move back in front in the bottom of the third against RHP J.C. Sulbaran (W, 6-6). LF Mike O'Neill started the stanza with a single chopped back up the middle. Sulbaran dug in with two consecutive outs, but DH Curt Smith swatted a two-run blast over the left field fence for the 3-1 advantage.
The Cardinals stretched the lead further with their fourth run in the bottom of the fourth. CF Rafael Ortega led off the inning with a base hit, before swiping his way to second base. After a groundout to third base, Ortega moved to third on a balk called on Sulbaran. SS Alex Mejia then joined Ortega on the bases with a free pass, putting runners at the corners with one down. Sulbaran got C Gerwuins Velazco on a strikeout, but the Cardinals pulled off a successful delayed double steal on the put-away pitch, with Ortega racing home on the play to make it 4-1.
Heyer kept the Cardinals lead intact through the remainder of his six-inning quality start, allowing only the one run on three hits while striking out three. RHP Sam Tuivailala then made his Double-A debut out of the bullpen by tossing a pair of perfect relief innings, keeping Springfield ahead by three runs through the eighth.
However, the Naturals refused to go quietly, rallying in the top of the ninth inning. LHP Lee Stoppelman took over on the mound to start the frame, but hit rehabbing Royals DH Nori Aoki to lead off the inning. After a pop out to right, RF Jorge Bonifacio worked a walk to put two men on. 1B Cheslor Cuthbert then placed an RBI single through the left side, plating Aoki to cut the Cards lead to 4-2. Springfield turned to LHP Justin Wright (L, 2-1), but 3B Hunter Dozier won the battle with a go-ahead three-run homer, leap-frogging the Naturals in front, 5-4.
Naturals RHP Malcom Culver (S, 6) relieved Sulbaran for the bottom of the ninth and closed the door with a scoreless frame, wrapping up the Naturals 5-4 win.
Click here for the complete box score from Thursday's game.
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The brand-new Promo Seats Package includes one Diamond Box Ticket for a game featuring a Promotional Item and guarantees that you receive one of that night's Promotional Items, plus a portion of the ticket sales will benefit the Hamels Foundation Cardinals Youth Initiative to provide tickets for area youth and non-profit organizations.
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Friday Night Fireworks with Music from Kids Movies and U.S.A Hockey Jersey Auction coming up
The Cardinals continue the homestand with AM Pyrotechnics Friday Night Fireworks featuring Music from Kids Movies on Friday, July 11 at 7:10pm. Gates open at 6:10pm.
The home series will also feature -
-U.S.A Hockey Specialty Jersey Auction to benefit Horses of Hope during the Saturday, July 12 game at 6:10pm. Gates open at 5:10pm.
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