SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Springfield Cardinals (22-26, 52-66) snapped a six-game losing streak behind strong pitching by LHP Evan Kruczynski to beat the first-place Arkansas Travelers (28-20, 71-45) 3-2 on Saturday night in front of 7,337 fans at Hammons Field.
W: RHP Merandy Gonzalez (2-3)
L: RHP Jake Haberer (1-2)
S: RHP Connor Jones (5)
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED:
- Cardinals 2B Irving Lopez led off the seventh inning with a single and CF Dylan Carlson's 23rd double of the year followed, placing the runners on second and third with no outs. Next, rehabbing St. Louis Cardinals C Yadier Molina sent a fly ball into center that was deep enough to allow Lopez to score and put Springfield ahead for good at 3-2.
- With Nick Zammarelli on first in the top of the ninth with one out, it appeared that the Travelers were set to tie things 3-3 when Jordan Cowan sent a double all the way to the corner in left field. But a perfect relay sequence by LF Lars Nootbaar to 2B Irving Lopez to C Julio Rodriguez gunned out a sliding Zammarelli on a bang-bang play at the plate. Jones got SS Donnie Walton to ground out on the next play to end the game and strand Cowan at third.
- C Brian O'Keefe put Springfield ahead 1-0 in the second on his 12th homer of the year and second in as many games.
- Springfield extended its lead to 2-0 when O'Keefe scored on a throwing error by Travelers 1B Evan White on a Nootbaar ground ball.
- Arkansas tied the game 2-2 in the fifth when a pair of runs came home on a throwing error by Cardinals 1B Zach Kirtley. One of the runs was earned.
- Kruczynski struck out a career-high 11 batters over 6.2 innings, allowing two runs (1 ER) on six hits and a walk. He finished with 101 pitches. It was the second straight game that Kruczysnki finished with double-digit strikeouts after striking out 10 Tulsa Drillers on August 5 at ONEOK Field.
- Molina was 0-for-2 with an RBI in his third rehab appearance with Springfield. He was hit by a pitch from Travelers RHP Justin Dunn in the fifth inning.
- Carlson led Cardinals batters with two hits (2-for-4) and swiped his 15th and 16th bases of the season.
UP NEXT: The Cardinals and Travelers close out their four-game series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 p.m. and gates opening at 4:55 p.m.
Yadier Molina is expected to continue his rehab assignment with Springfield on Sunday night. Head to www.springfieldcardinals.com for tickets.
Plus, it's our Great Southern Bank Cardinals Build-A-Bear giveaway for 2,000 fans.
It's also a Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Sunday and Kids Run the Bases with free ice cream for kids before the game and the chance to run the bases after the final out.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.