The Springfield Cardinals struck for three runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the Arkansas Travelers hung on for the 5-3 win before the sell out crowd of 9,709 fans at Hammons Field on Monday night. The packed house is the sixth sell out of the season, second largest crowd of 2013, fifth highest regular season crowd in team history and seventh largest crowd in overall team history (including exhibition games).
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St. Louis RHP Chris Carpenter made the rehab start for the Cardinals, going 2.2 innings with five strikeouts and three runs (only two earned).
Carpenter (L, 0-1) dealt the first two frames in scoreless fashion for the Cardinals (12-12, 45-47), before the Travelers (15-9, 48-45) got the bats going in the top of the third inning. After a one-out double by 2B Taylor Lindsey, LF Jimmy Swift got Arkansas on the board with a two-run home run over the left field wall. One out later, 3B Kaleb Cowart worked a two-out walk to extend the frame. LF Travis Witherspoon and DH Ryan Jones followed with a single and a walk, respectively, loading the bases with two down. C Carlos Ramirez then grounded a ball to third that skipped off 3B Ruben Gotay's glove for a run-scoring miscue that made it 3-0.
After Carpenter wrapped up his rehab outing, RHP Jose Almarante took over on the mound. Almarante got the Cardinals out of the third and through the fourth inning in scoreless fashion.
RHP Seth Blair took over for the fifth and kept the Travs from adding to the advantage, but Arkansas struck in the top of the sixth. With one down, Lindsey skied a solo home run over the right field fence. Swift followed with a double, before moving to third base on a single from 1B CJ Cron. Cowart then grounded out to third, but it enabled Swift to come in from third base, stretching the Travelers lead to 5-0.
Springfield refused to go down without a fight, rallying with their backs against the wall in the bottom of the ninth. After RHP Caleb Graham retired the inning's first two batters, RF Adam Melker and SS Jake Lemmerman kept the game alive with consecutive walks. LF Mike O'Neill, CF James Ramsey and Gotay then strung together three straight RBI singles, bringing the Cardinals within just two runs. RHP Kevin Johnson (S, 13) had taken over on the mound to face Gotay and managed to close it against DH Chris Swauger, striking out the clean-up hitter for the 5-3 win for Arkansas.
RHP Brandon Hynick (W, 9-3) kept the Cards bats in check through 5.2 scoreless innings, logging the win for the Travelers.