Springfield, MO – The Springfield Cardinals swatted a season-high 18 hits en route to the 7-2 win against the San Antonio Missions before 3,751 fans at Hammons Field on Tuesday night. With a 10-1 record in their last 11 games, the Cardinals extended their lead to 3.5 games over the Tulsa Drillers for 1st place in the North Division Second Half Standings.
The Missions (29-21, 70-50) swung in front right out of the gates with a pair of unearned runs against LHP Austin Gomber (W, 8-7) in the top of the first. Gomber retired the first two batters in order, but C Webster Rivas reached on an error to extend the inning. RF Franmil Reyes then powered a two-run home run out to left field, swinging the Missions into the 2-0 lead.
The Cardinals (34-17, 69-52) got one run back right away in the bottom of the first against RHP Jake Esch (L, 0-2). With one away, CF Oscar Mercado laced a single right back through the middle. Mercado moved to second base on a groundout, before racing home on an RBI single from RF Adolis Garcia, cutting the Cards deficit in half, 2-1.
Gomber dug in with 10 straight outs after the long-ball in the opening frame, keeping the Cardinals only down by one until the bats tied it in the bottom of the fourth. C Andrew Knizner singled himself aboard with one away, before racing to third on a double from 1B John Nogowski. Knizner then darted home on an RBI groundout from SS Tommy Edman, squaring the score at 2-2.
Gomber finished his outing with scoreless work in the fifth and sixth, finishing his start with just the two unearned runs on one hit and one walk while striking out five.
The Cardinals then rallied in front for their first lead of the night in the bottom of the sixth. Consecutive singles from C Andrew Knizner and 1B John Nogowski opened the inning with two runners on. Following a sacrifice bunt from Edman, pinch-hitting INF Bruce Caldwell skied an RBI sacrifice fly that plated Knizner from third for the 3-2 lead. LF Magneuris Sierra followed with a two-out RBI single ripped up the middle, bringing home Nogowski to make it 4-2.
RHP Tyler Bray dealt a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, before Springfield padded the lead in the bottom of the inning. With 3B Darren Seferina at second and one away, 2B Eliezer Alvarez skipped an RBI single through the middle of the infield, plating Seferina for the 5-2 advantage and leading to RHP Cesar Vargas taking over on the mound. Knizner welcomed Vargas to the game with a base hit, his third knock of the night, sending Alvarez to third base. Nogowski then followed with an RBI single to shallow center field, his fourth hit of the night to plate Alvarez and stretch the lead to 6-2.
An RBI double from Alvarez in the bottom of the eighth opened the lead to five runs, before RHP Rowan Wick slammed the door with a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to close the 7-2 win for the Cardinals.