Springfield, MO – The Springfield Cardinals completed the four-game sweep of the Arkansas Travelers with a wild 8-7 walk-off win in 10 innings, before 3,768 fans at Hammons Field on Sunday evening. The Travelers had scored two in the top of the 10th, before a two-run double by 1B Jonathan Rodriguez and the game-winning RBI sacrifice fly from RF David Washington in the bottom of the frame.
With the win and the series sweep, the Cardinals (24-20, 54-60) move one game in front of Arkansas (23-21, 59-54) for sole possession of 1st place in the North Division Second Half Standings with 26 games remaining.
After a quick 1-2-3 opening inning from RHP Alex Reyes, the Cardinals jumped in front with a pair of runs against RHP Kyle McGowin in the bottom of the first. CF Charlie Tilson opened the inning by reaching on an error, followed quickly by a double inside the left field line from DH Mike O’Neill. LF Anthony Garcia then pulled a two-run double of his own inside the left field line, scoring both Tilson and O’Neill for the early 2-0 Cardinals lead.
The Travelers, though, responded in the top of the second. After 3B Brian Hernandez reached on a fielder’s choice, 1B Wade Hinkle worked a walk to put two men on with only one down. SS Drew Maggi then swung the Travs onto the board with an RBI double up against the wall in left field, plating Hernandez and moving Hinkle to third. One out later, C Anthony Bemboom brought both runners home with a go-ahead two-run double to right field, swinging himself into scoring position. CF Ruben Sosa then capped the rally with an RBI single up the middle, plating Bemboom for the 4-2 advantage for Arkansas.
RHP Joey Donofrio got the Cardinals out of the second with the final out of the frame, before keeping the Cardinals close with two more scoreless stanzas. LHP Ryan Sherriff followed with a pair of perfect relief innings in the fifth and sixth, followed by a scoreless inning in the Double-A debut of RHP Silfredo Garcia.
While the Cardinals bullpen quieted the Travelers bats, McGowin retired 18 of 19 in a row from the final three outs in the first through the sixth, keeping the Travs in the 4-2 advantage.
However, the Cardinals came roaring back against McGowin in the bottom of the seventh. 2B Bruce Caldwell ignited the offense with a leadoff double, followed quickly by a game-tying, two-run homer from RF David Washington to right field. 3B Patrick Wisdom then ripped a single to deep left field, before racing to second on a bunt single from SS Matt Williams. After RHP Eduard Santos took over on the mound, C Alberto Rosario grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but it brought Wisdom home from third to lift the Cardinals into the 5-4 lead.
Arkansas answered right back with the tying run in the top of the eighth inning against RHP Corey Baker. Sosa started the stanza with a double to right field. One out later, DH Raywilly Gomez and LF Blake Gailen worked consecutive walks to load the bases. Hernandez came through with an RBI groundout to short, plating Sosa from third to square the score at 5-5.
After both sides put up a scoreless ninth, the Travelers took the advantage in the top of the 10th. Following a one-out single from DH Raywilly Gomez, Gailen pulled a go-ahead two-run homer to right field, swinging Arkansas into the advantage. After the home run, RHP Ronnie Shaban (W, 3-2) entered the game and retired the final two outs in the top of the 10th, keeping it just a 7-5 Arkansas lead.
Springfield refused to stay down, concocting one final comeback in the bottom of the 10th. Travelers LHP Greg Mahle (L, 2-2) retired the frame’s first batter, before Tilson reached on an error to start the comeback. SS Aledmys Diaz then entered as a pinch hitter and caught the Travs off guard with a bunt single, putting two men on with only one down. After LF Anthony Garcia worked a walk, RHP Kyle Winkler came in for Arkansas. However, 1B Jonathan Rodriguez rocketed a two-run double just inside the third base line, bringing home Tilson and Diaz to even the score, 7-7. With two on and first base open, the Travelers intentionally walked Caldwell, bringing up Washington with the bases loaded. Washington promptly delivered the game-winner, an RBI sacrifice fly just deep enough to right field to enable Garcia to dive home safely, propelling the Cardinals to the 8-7 walk-off win in the 10th inning.