SPRINGFIELD, MO - The Arkansas Travelers grabbed a lead they would not relinquish in the second inning en route to an 8-5 victory over the Springfield Cardinals on Saturday at Hammons Field. Maikol Gonzalez hit a two-run double for the lead during the rally. Matt Long was 2-for-4 with a home run (2) and three runs batted in along with a steal and two runs scored.
With three wins in a row in this series, the Travs now have wins in eight straight games against the Cardinals and a 10-1 record versus Springfield in the second half. With wins in 16 of 21 games, their second-half record improves to 24-18 while the overall season record is at 58-54, tied for their high water mark this year.
In his fifth spot start, Buddy Boshers (1-3) earned his first win as a starter since August 25, 2010. The lefty finished five innings and allowed two runs on three hits and three walks, but also struck out six batters.
The Travs fell behind in the first inning when Cody Stanley delivered a two-out RBI single to score Breyvic Valera from second base. He reached on a single and a wild pitch moved Valera to scoring position.
Long led off the top of the second with a single and stole second base to go 6-for-6 stealing bases with the Travs. Jett Bandy walked, then Long moved to third on a deep fly out by Michael Snyder. Drew Heid reached base on a fielder's choice and stayed out of a double play allowing Long to score the tying run. Eric Stamets then grounded sharp double past third base to bring Gonzalez to the plate with runners at second and third. He hit a high drive to the left-field warning track as both runners scored for a 3-1 lead. Alex Yarbrough produced his Texas League-best 61st RBI with a single to center field to cap the rally.
Springfield managed a run without a base hit in the third inning on two walks, two wild pitched and a sacrifice fly by Stanley. Long caught Stanley's sacrifice and pegged Jonathan Rodriguez, who tried to advance from first to second base to end the inning.
Brian Hernandez and Mike Bianucci hit singles in the fifth inning to bring Long to the plate, and he hammered a 2-2 offering over the right field wall to increase the lead to 7-2.
Cardinals lefty Kyle Hald (8-4) absorbed those seven runs to suffer the loss with ten hits and two walks allowed.
A sacrifice fly by Hernandez gave the Travs their largest lead of the night in the sixth inning at 8-2.
Carmine Giardina relieved Boshers and pitched 2.1 innings with two runs allowed on a seventh-inning double by Valera. Giardina though struck out the side in the seventh
Michael Brady finished the game with 1.2 innings and an unearned run allowed with three strikeouts. The four Travs pitchers combined to strike out 12 batters.
Time of game was 2:56 and the paid attendance was 6,658.
The Travs now go for their second series sweep against Springfield in a month on Sunday evening at Hammons Field sending left hander Tyler DeLoach to the mound in his Class-AA debut. Springfield counters with lefty James Reed (1-0, 1.50). First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m.