SPRINGFIELD — St. Louis Cardinals C Yadier Molina and 3B Greg Garcia suited up for the Springfield Cardinals again, helping lead the Cards to the 5-4 win against the Arkansas Travelers before the sellout crowd of 8,858 fans at Hammons Field on Thursday night. It was the Cardinals largest crowd of 2014 and 10th sellout of the season.
Molina went 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI, while catching the first five innings. Garcia finished 1-for-4 with a base hit and a run.The Cardinals (31-34, 65-70) jumped on RHP Orangel Arenas (L, 6-8) right away, with the two St. Louis Cardinals sparking the charge. Leading off, 3B Greg Garcia pulled a base hit through the right side, swinging himself on. C Yadier Molina promptly ripped an RBI double inside the right field line, plating Garcia all the way from first base. After a groundout to second moved Molina to third base, DH Cody Stanley brought him home with an RBI sacrifice fly to left field, doubling up the early advantage to 2-0.The Travelers (38-28, 72-65) responded right away with a pair of tallies against RHP Corey Baker in the top of the second. C Zach Zaneski knocked a single to start the inning, before a one-out base hit from LF Drew Heid put two runners on. Former Springfield Cardinal and current Travs RF Adam Melker brought both runners home with a two-run double to center field to tie the game, 2-2.Arkansas tilted the lead in the third with their third run of the night. With one down and the bases empty, DH Mike Bianucci skied a solo shot to left field, lifting the Travs into the 3-2 advantage.Springfield, though, evened it back out in the bottom of the third inning. Molina started the stanza with a booming double to left-center field, before moving to third base on a fly out to right. After a pair of walks from Stanley and RF Curt Smith, 1B Jonathan Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, forcing in Molina from third for the 3-3 tie. After a strikeout, Mejia lifted the Cards out of the tie with a two-out, two-run single through the left side, scoring Stanley and Smith for the 5-3 lead.Baker kept the two-run lead intact through his fourth inning, before RHP Sam Tuivailala (W, 2-1) tossed a scoreless fifth. RHP Seth Blair took over on the mound in the sixth inning with C Travis Tartamella coming in as a defensive replacement for Molina.After a 1-2-3 sixth inning worked by Blair, the Travelers edged closer in the top of the seventh. Heid worked a walk to start the inning, moving to second base next on a single from Melker. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt from SS Maikol Gonzalez, before Blair battled back with a strikeout for the second out in the stanza. With Hernandez batting, Blair tried to issue an intentional walk, but threw a wild pitch on the second offering, enabling Heid to score. RHP Jeremy Berg took over on the mound and, after finishing the walk, struck out Bianucci to keep the Cards in front, 5-4.Berg retired the first two outs in the top of the eighth inning as well, before LHP Lee Stoppelman (S, 4) slammed the door with the final 1.1 scoreless frames to close the 5-4 win for the Cardinals.