SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Starting pitching served as the main course of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (36-55/11-10) 3-1 win over the Springfield Cardinals (42-49/8-13) on Friday night at Hammons Field. RHP Jason Adam (4-8, 5.14) was the head chef. The Royals No. 9 prospect dished seven scoreless innings and struck out seven to earn his second straight victory.
The Overland Park, Kan. native was strong from the outset working quickly, efficiently and on both halves of the plate to stymie the sticks of Springfield en route to turning in his seventh quality start of the season. A key for the right-hander in the victory was jumping ahead of batters. Adam threw a first-pitch strike to 18 of the 27 batters he faced on Friday night including six of the first seven of the game.
A scoreless game broke in the top of the fifth inning after Max Ramirez led off the game with his 5th double of the season to deep centerfield. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and three batters later with two outs, Justin Trapp laced a single off the glove to Springfield starter LHP Kyle Hald (7-3, 3.30) to plate Ramirez from third to break the scoreless tie.
Ramirez supplied the insurance to withhold the Adam victory with a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning. Hunter Dozier extended the frame by working a two-out walk off RHP Ronnie Shaban and Ramirez - with two strikes against him - gave the Naturals a 3-0 lead on his third home run of the season.
LHP Scott Alexander danced out of trouble in the eighth inning as he stranded the bases loaded to collect his sixth hold of the season. RHP Andrew Triggs gave a perfect ninth inning to notch his 13th save of the year.
Northwest Arkansas will enjoy first place for another day as they look for the series win tomorrow with a 6:10p.m. first pitch. RHP Tim Melville (1-7, 4.61) will take the ball against RHP Sam Gaviglio (3-9, 5.05).
You can catch all live play-by-play action for the game with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on your home for the Naturals 92.1 the Ticket for a 6:50p.m. Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading up to first pitch from Arvest Ballpark.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. For more information including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.