Cornelius and Cardinals shut out Naturals, 3-0

By Springfield Cardinals | July 20, 2014 11:13 PM ET

Springfield, MO - LHP Jonathan Cornelius and the Springfield Cardinals blanked the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 3-0, before 4,227 fans at Hammons Field on Sunday evening. It is the Cardinals eighth shutout win of the season.

The Cardinals (11-19, 45-55) seized an early advantage with three tallies against RHP J.C. Sulbaran (L, 6-7) in the bottom of the second. DH Curt Smith started the stanza by getting all the way to second base on a throwing error from 3B Hunter Dozier. 2B Breyvic Valera then laid down a sacrifice bunt that was fielded by Sulbaran. On the bunt, Sulbaran tried to retire Smith at third, but Smith beat the throw and everyone was safe. 3B Patrick Wisdom then cracked the scoreless tie with his team-leading 41st RBI on a sacrifice fly to center field, plating Smith from third. CF Rafael Ortega ripped a line drive to left field, putting two runners on. On a perfectly-executed hit-and-run, SS Alex Mejia shot an RBI single through the left side, bringing in Valera and moving Ortega all the way to third. After a strikeout, 1B Jonathan Rodriguez came through with a two-out RBI single to left field, capping the rally for the 3-0 lead.

Cardinals LHP Jonathan Cornelius (W, 9-7), the team-leader with 10 quality starts, ensured that the early advantage held up through his outing, dealing a dominant five innings. The southpaw struck out five batters, while scattering five hits and walking only two, keeping the Naturals (14-16, 39-61) off the board through his scoreless start. With the win, Cornelius ties Tulsa RHP Jonathan Gray for the league lead with nine wins.

A quartet of Cardinals relievers took the mound after Cornelius to continue the shutout. RHP Chris Thomas dealt a 1-2-3 sixth, before RHP Sam Tuivailala logged 1.1 scoreless innings. After back-to-back hits to start the eighth, Tuivailala struck out SS Orlando Calixte, before giving way to RHP Jeremy Berg. The newest member of the bullpen got the Cardinals out of trouble in the eighth, striking out consecutive batters to close the scoreless frame.

The Naturals didn't make it easy, loading the bases with no outs to start the top of the ninth against LHP Justin Wright (S, 9). However, the Cards closer dug in and retired the subsequent three batters in order, escaping the jam and closing the 3-0 shutout win for Springfield.

Click here for the complete box score from Sunday'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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$1 Kids Toasted Ravioli on Monday, 2004 NL Championship Rings and $1 Dogs on Tuesday

The Cardinals take on the Tulsa Drillers on Monday at 7:10pm for Pasta Express $1 Kids Toasted Ravioli Night (All kids, 12-and-under). First Pitch is 7:10pm, gates open at 6:10pm.

The Cardinals and Drillers continue the series on Tuesday with the St. Louis Cardinals 2004 National League Championship Replica Ring Giveaway (2,500) and Great Southern Bank $1 Dog Day on Tuesday, July 22. First Pitch is 7:10pm, gates open at 6:10pm.

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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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