Cardinals top Naturals, 5-2, in opener

By Springfield Cardinals | April 22, 2014 12:15 AM ET

Springdale, AR - The Springfield Cardinals kicked off the eight-game road trip on a winning note, claiming a 5-2 victory against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals before 4,120 fans at Arvest Ballpark on Monday night. The Cardinals have won six of their last seven games and are currently atop the early North Division Standings.

The Cardinals (9-8) jumped in front in the top of the first inning against RHP Jason Adam (L, 0-3). With CF James Ramsey on at first base and two down, 1B Jonathan Rodriguez knocked a base hit to move Ramsey to third. DH Curt Smith then bounced an RBI single through the right side, scoring Ramsey for the 1-0 lead.

Springfield LHP Kyle Hald (W, 1-0), making his Double-A debut, kept the Naturals (4-13) off the board in the first, but Northwest Arkansas tied it in the second. With runners at the corners and two down, Hald tried to pick off the runner from first but had a balk called against him, scoring 1B Jared Schlehuber from third to even it, 1-1.

The Cardinals moved right back in front in the top of the fourth inning. Rodriguez started the stanza with a double, before advancing to third on a Smith single. Two outs later, SS Luis Mateo placed an RBI base hit to right field, making it 2-1.

The Naturals tied it with an RBI double from 2B Whit Merrifield in the bottom of the fourth, but then the Cardinals pulled away for good with three runs in the top of the fifth. LF Mike O'Neill led off with a single, before racing all the way home on an RBI triple from RF Rafael Ortega. After Ramsey was hit by a pitch, Rodriguez drove an RBI sacrifice fly to left field, bringing in Rodriguez for the go-ahead run. Smith then got on with his third single of the game, followed by an RBI sacrifice fly from C Cody Stanley to center field to stretch the lead to 5-2.

Hald worked through a scoreless bottom of the fifth, before giving way to the bullpen. Springfield received scoreless relief from RHP Logan Billbrough (1.1 innings), LHP Justin Wright (1.2 innings) and LHP Dean Kiekhefer (1.0 inning) to close the 5-2 win. Kiekhefer logged his third save of the season.

Click here for the complete box score from Monday's game.

Cardinals return for 8-game homestand starting on Tuesday, April 29

The Cardinals continue the road trip against the Naturals on Tuesday at 7:05pm. Catch all the action live on Jock 98.7FM and, and tune in 15 minutes early for the Coyote's Sports Cafe Pregame Show.

The Cardinals return home to start an eight-game homestand on Tuesday, April 29 with a Great Southern Bank $1 Dog Day at 7:10pm. The homestand will feature three educational days (4/30, 5/5, 5/6), the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals National League Championship Replica Ring Giveaway (2,500) and a "Buck a Brat" Night on Thursday, May 1, AM Pyrotechnics Friday Night Fireworks featuring Music from the 90s on Friday, May 2, the Price Cutter and Bar-S Foods 10th Season T-Shirt Giveaway (2,500) on Saturday, May 3 and much, much more. Click below to view the complete schedule.

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

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.

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