Midland, TX – The Springfield Cardinals turned their fourth all-time triple play, and second this season, but dropped the series opener in Midland, 4-1, before 2,660 fans at Security Bank Ballpark on Sunday evening.
The RockHounds (2-7, 35-43) came out swinging with a two-run shot by 3B J.P. Sportman in the bottom of the first against LHP Austin Warner (L, 0-2).
Midland then added a third run as they worked four walks against Warner in the second, opening the lead to 3-0.
Cardinals RHP Austin Sexton took over to start the third and settled things down, twirling three perfect innings and striking out six of the nine batters he retired in order.
Midland RHP Parker Dunshee (W, 1-1) had opened his start with 4.1 perfect innings, retiring the first 13 Cardinals that he faced, before DH Chris Chinea broke up the perfect game bid in the top of the fifth. With one away and the bases empty, Chinea slugged a solo home run to left field to get the Cardinals (1-9, 34-46) on the board, 3-1. Chinea has hit safely in all four games on the trip, going yard in three of them.
After Sexton’s third perfect frame, RHP Ramon Santos took over for the seventh. Midland opened the inning with a single and a walk, getting two on with no outs. Santos, though, induced a ground ball to third from 1B Edwin Diaz that led to a 5-4-3 triple play as 3B Evan Mendoza fielded the ball, stepped on third for the first out and threw to second. 2B Ramon Urias stepped on second for out number two and then fired to first to complete the triple play.
Midland, though, padded the lead in the eighth with their final run on a sacrifice fly by RF Seth Brown, before RHP Nolan Blackwood (S, 9) tossed a scoreless ninth to close the 4-1 win.