SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Cardinals batted around and more in the first, and that was all they needed.
Coming home from getting swept in Little Rock, Springfield’s bats let out their collective frustrations on the Naturals on Sunday in a 7-1 final behind seven scoreless innings from Mike O’Reilly and in front of a sellout crowd of 8,059 at Hammons Field.
The first three Cardinals reached base in that five-run, five-hit first inning. John Nogowski started the scoring with a bases loaded sacrifice fly that made it 1-0. One batter later, Lane Thomas lined a single into left that put the Cardinals up 2-0. After Jose Godoy singled and Victor Roache struck out, Blake Drake pushed things to 5-0 with a bases-clearing double into the gap in right.
Luke Dykstra and Tommy Edman drew walks, loading the bases again, but Pedro Fernandez ended the 11-batter inning by getting Ramon Urias to ground out to third.
The Naturals never recovered.
Northwest Arkansas starter Dallas Beeler lasted just two thirds of an inning, giving up five runs and five hits and two walks.
Even if Springfield’s bats didn’t catch that early fire, O’Reilly’s night might have been enough for a win.
The Cardinals righty allowed just three hits and walked a pair over his seven scoreless innings, striking out five in the best Double-A start of his career.
THE STREAK CONTINUES
Ramon Urias extended his hitting streak to 14 games and the Cardinals lead to 6-0 with his eighth homer of the season in the fourth inning.
The Naturals got one back on a Jecksson Flores single in the eighth off Landon Beck.
Dykstra secured the 7-1 final with an RBI single in the eighth that brought in Drake.
Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizner was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts in the MLB All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Springfield hosts the Naturals for the second game of a four-game set on Monday night with first pitch set for 6:30pm.