Springfield, MO - The Springfield Cardinals rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to top the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 5-2, before 5,239 fans at Hammons Field on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Cardinals claimed the series victory, 3-games-to-1, opening their lead over the Naturals for 1st place in the North Division to 2.5 games.
Cardinals RF Harrison Bader and 1B Luke Voit both extended their hitting streaks to 17 games and 13 games, respectively, the two longest current streaks in the league. Bader is one game away from tying Springfield's all-time longest hitting streak of 18 games, accomplished by four previous Cardinals.
Cardinals RHP Corey Baker dueled back and forth with rehabbing Kansas City Royals LHP Mike Minor through the first three scoreless frames, but Northwest Arkansas (17-18) swung in front in the top of the fourth. After Baker started the stanza with a strikeout, 1B Ryan O'Hearn pulled a solo shot out to right field, lifting the Naturals into the 1-0 lead.
The Cardinals (20-16) came right back and tied it in the bottom of the fourth. With one away, 1B Luke Voit reached on a double to right field and took third on an error on RF Logan Moon on the play. 3B Paul DeJong then skied a fly ball to right field that Moon caught, before firing a throw home. Voit was caught in a run down between third and the plate, but C Cameron Gallagher threw the ball away while trying to retire Voit, with the error enabling Voit to score and tie it at 1-1.
After Baker struck out a pair in a scoreless top of the fifth, the Cardinals powered in front in the bottom of the fifth. Leading off against Minor, DH Chris Jacobs slugged a solo shot to left field, his fourth home run of the year, swinging Springfield into the 2-1 advantage.
The Naturals threatened to take the lead in the top of the sixth, but another phenomenal play by rehabbing St. Louis Cardinals CF Tommy Pham preserved the lead. With one on and one down, DH Frank Schwindel drove a fly ball home run distance to left-center, but Pham made a jumping catch at the fence to rob Schwindel of the home run, the second time in the series that Pham brought back a would-be home run ball. Baker then induced a routine fly out to Pham from the next batter, closing the frame with the Cardinals still leading, 2-1.
RHP Joey Donofrio picked up where Baker left off with a scoreless seventh, but the Naturals squared the score against RHP Ronnie Shaban (W, 1-0) in the top of the eighth. Shaban retired the first two batters of the frame, but 3B Mauricio Ramos extended the inning with a two-out walk. After a Schwindel single put two runners on, C Cameron Gallagher sliced an RBI double inside the right field line to bring in Ramos for the 2-2 tie.
The Cardinals, though, rebounded right away, retaking the lead in the bottom of the eighth against RHP Pedro Fernandez (L, 0-1). With one down, Bader worked a walk to spark the rally. SS Alex Mejia and Pham then knocked back-to-back base hits, loading the bases with only one away. Voit came through with an RBI single lined to left field, bringing in Bader and moving everyone ninety feet. DeJong followed with a fly ball deep enough to left field for the RBI sacrifice fly to score Mejia, before 2B Breyvic Valera capped the rally with an RBI single up the middle to open the lead to 5-2.
RHP Josh Lucas (S, 2) took over for the top of the ninth and worked around an error and a base hit, posting a scoreless final frame to close the 5-2 win for Springfield.
Click here for the complete box score from Sunday's game.
$1 Kids Orders of Toasted Ravioli, $1 Hot Dogs and $1 Brats this Monday - Thursday
The Cardinals continue the homestand with games every day through Thursday, May 19. Don't miss any of the upcoming fun, including:
-Monday, May 16, 6:30pm - Pasta Express $1 Kids Orders of Toasted Ravioli. Gates open at 5:30pm.
-Tuesday, May 17, 6:30pm - Great Southern Bank $1 Dog Day. Gates open at 5:30pm.
-Wednesday, May 18, 6:30pm - Wednesday Night Baseball vs. the Tulsa Drillers. Gates open at 5:30pm.
-Thursday, May 19, 7:10pm - Klement's "Buck a Brat" Night. Gates open at 6:10pm.
For information about becoming a Season Ticket Holder, organizing a Group Outing, booking an Urban Cup Birthday Party or ordering Individual Game Tickets right now, call the Front Office at (417) 863-2143 or visit SpringfieldCardinals.com.
Click here to view the full 2016 Promotional Schedule.
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