SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Part of baseball’s beauty is its ability to always show its viewers something they’ve never seen before.
More than likely, that was the case for everyone in attendance for the final three outs at Hammons Field on Monday. Whether that be a fan in the stands, players on the field or the men wearing blue behind home plate.
The rarity was a triple play. And even more, how it was done: 4-6-3-1-5 off a line drive. The 1-5 portion of the play came after a dead-ball umpire deliberation and subsequent appeal to third once play resumed, where the final Travelers runner was called out as a result of failing to tag up on the initial liner.
The wild finish put the finishing touch a 6-1 Cardinals homestand, capped Monday afternoon by an 8-4 comeback win over visiting Arkansas with 2,787 fans in attendance.
Despite the triple play, the game’s biggest moment came in a four-run Cardinals seventh.
After falling behind 4-2 in the sixth, Springfield rallied and took the lead for good on Victor Roache’s second homer of the day and sixth of the season.
The inning began with a Luke Dykstra single, followed by the same from Tommy Edman. After Edmundo Sosa advanced both a base with a bunt, Lane Thomas brought Dykstra home on a groundout.
Then, with two outs, John Nogowski extended his hit streak to 11 games with a game-tying RBI single, setting the stage for for Roache. Staring at a 1-2 count, Roache crushed a towering shot off Spencer Herrmann and onto the walkway beyond the hill in center, putting the Cardinals up 6-4.
In the eighth, Springfield loaded the bases, and Edmundo Sosa took advantage, beating out the throw on an infield single that scored Jeremy Martinez and gave Springfield a 7-4 advantage.
Herrmann hit Nogowski with a pitch with the bases still juiced with two outs, pushing an eighth Cardinal run across and cementing the 8-4 final.
Earlier, Springfield starter Ramon Santos escaped a bases loaded, one-out jam in the top of the third by getting Joey Curletto to fly out to shallow right and Chris Mariscal to groundout to shortstop.
Roache gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead with a two-run shot pulled over the wall in left with no outs in the fourth.
Santos was relieved by Ian McKinney after three scoreless innings in his first start of the season, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out one.
The Travelers grabbed the lead in the fifth, putting a three-spot on the board in McKinney’s second inning of work.
Chuck Taylor made it 2-1 Cardinals when he singled in Yonathan Mendoza on a grounder to right. Next, Beau Amaral grounded into a double play that scored Braden Bishop from third. Then, with two outs, Joey Curletta homered for the second consecutive game, giving Arkansas the lead at 3-2.
After Joe DeCarlo reached in the sixth, Arkansas extended its lead to 4-2 when Mendoza drove him home on a two-out double.
McKinney (1-0) was credited with the win, going four innings and allowing four runs on four hits and two walks, striking out three.
Mendoza earned his third save with a scoreless ninth.
Going back to High-A Palm Beach last season, Santos has allowed just two earned runs in 34.1 innings over his past six starts, good for a 0.53 ERA in those outings. Mendoza extended his scoreless innings streak to 10.0 to open the season. The Cardinals improved to 11-2 at home with the win and remain a half game behind Tulsa in the Texas League North.
The Cardinals open a four-game series with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Tuesday at 7:05 pm.
Springfield returns home Saturday at 6:10 p.m. for a key four-game series with North Division leading Tulsa (AA-L.A. Dodgers). Saturday, 2,000 fans at the park will receive a custom-designed Coca-Cola Super-Soft Cardinals Nation T-Shirt!
Then on Sunday, as with every Sunday at Hammons Field, kids will receive free ice cream before the game courtesy of Hiland Dairy for Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Sunday. After the game will be Kids Run the Bases. On Tuesday, May 8, fans at our 6:30 p.m. game pay just a dollar per hot dog, courtesy of Great Southern Bank’s $1 dog day.