Springdale, AR - RF Rafael Ortega swung the Springfield Cardinals in front with an RBI double in the top of the ninth, lifting the Cards to the 5-4 win against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals before 3,671 fans at Arvest Ballpark on Sunday evening. C Cody Stanley and 2B Breyvic Valera both drove in a pair of RBIs, while DH Mike O'Neill and LF James Ramsey collected three hits apiece.
Cardinals LHP Kyle Hald and Naturals RHP Tim Melville alternated scoreless innings through their first three, before Northwest Arkansas (18-19, 43-64) broke through in the bottom of the fourth. A single from SS Orlando Calixte and a double by LF Edinson Rincon swung a couple of runners on board to start the inning. DH Mark Threlkeld then sliced an RBI single up the middle, before an RBI double by C Parker Morin. Hald battled back with a groundout, but 2B Angel Franco added the third run on an RBI single, making it 3-0.
The Cardinals (15-22, 49-58) had a quick response, plating a pair in the top of the fifth against Melville. Back-to-back base hits from CF Charlie Tilson and DH Mike O'Neill sparked the bats. After a strikeout, 1B Curt Smith loaded the bases with a sharp single to left field. C Cody Stanley then ripped an RBI single to right, bringing in Tilson with the All-Star's 30th RBI of the year. 2B Breyvic Valera brought in the Cardinals second run in the frame with an RBI fielder's choice, scoring O'Neill to bring Springfield within one run, 3-2.
The Naturals responded with an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two down, Calixte reached on an error to extend the inning. Rincon then followed with a single, before an RBI double by DH Mark Threlkeld to stretch it to 4-2.
The Cardinals came back again with two runs in the top of the seventh to tie things up. O'Neill got the rally going again with a base hit, followed quickly by a double from LF James Ramsey. RHP Mark Peterson took over on the mound and got 1B Curt Smith on a strikeout, but Stanley and Valera struck again, both knocking RBI singles to tie the game, 4-4.
After two scoreless innings from RHP Jeremy Berg (W, 1-0), the Cardinals swung in front in the top of the ninth. Stanley led off with a walk against RHP Malcom Culver (L, 4-4), but was retired on a fielder's choice hit into by Valera. With Valera at first and one down, Ortega hammered the go-ahead RBI double to right field, scoring Valera all the way from first base for the Cardinals first lead of the night, 5-4.
RHP Sam Tuivailala (S, 1) then took over for the bottom of the ninth inning. After a leadoff single, Tuivailala battled back with a strikeout for the first out. A walk put two runners on, but then Tuivailala induced and started a 1-4-3 double play, slamming the door on the Naturals and closing the 5-4 win for the Cardinals.
Click here for the complete box score from Sunday's game.
Guarantee Individual Promo Items with the brand-new Promo Seats
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.
By purchasing the Promo Seats, fans will have an item reserved for them regardless of where they are in line or what time they arrive at the game. And, for the first time, out-of-town fans that order a Promo Seat Package can choose to have their Promotional Item mailed to them for an additional shipping and handling charge of $10 per item. Both out of town fans and those unable to make the game may donate their game ticket to the Hamels Foundation Cardinals Youth Initiative.
Promo Seat Packages are just $28 each and there are only 61 available for each game. Call the Ticket Office at (417) 863-2143 right now to order yours!
Click here for more information on Cardinals Promo Seats.
Bill Virdon Bobbleheads, Songs from Movies Fireworks, Pink in the Park Wristlets and Michael Wacha Bobbleheads coming up
The Cardinals continue the road trip against the Tulsa Drillers on Monday at 7:05pm. 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.
The Cardinals then kick off a four-game homestand on Thursday, July 31 with the Bill Virdon Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Wendy's - Sam, June and Mike Hamra for 2,500 fans. That Thursday is also a "Buck a Brat" Night featuring $1 bratwursts all game. First Pitch is set for 7:10pm, gates open at 6:10pm.
The series will also feature -
-AM Pyrotechnics Friday Night Fireworks featuring Songs from Movies on Friday, August 1. First Pitch is 7:10pm, gates open at 6:10pm.
-Rick's Automotive Pink in the Park Wristlet Giveaway for 2,500 fans and the Pink in the Park Jersey Auction to benefit BCFO on Saturday, August 2. First Pitch is 6:10pm, gates open at 5:10pm.
-Maria's Mexican Restaurant Michael Wacha Bobblehead Giveaway for 2,500 fans, Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Sunday and The Track Family Fun Parks Kids Race the Bases on Sunday, August 3. First Pitch is 6:10pm, gates open at 5:10pm.
For information about becoming a Season Ticket Holder, organizing a Group Outing, booking a The Cup Birthday Party or ordering Individual Game Tickets right now, call the Front Office at (417) 863-2143 or visit SpringfieldCardinals.com.
Click here for the complete 2014 Promotional Schedule and to get your tickets right now.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.