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Image by Courtesy Springfield Cardinals
The Springfield Cardinals defeated the Northwest Arkansas Naturals 5-2 thanks to timely hitting and great relief pitching amidst a highly touted pitching debut.
The St. Louis Cardinals' number two prospect, Carlos Martinez, made his Double-A debut tonight for Springfield. Martinez, fresh of the disabled list, hadn't pitched in a ballgame in over a month. Held to a strict pitch count, Martinez lasted three innings giving up one unearned run on three hits. He also struck out three batters.
Northwest Arkansas countered with Justin Marks. He pitched five and two-thirds innings giving up three runs. Marks did however strikeout seven Cardinals batters.
Springfield took the first lead in the ballgame during the bottom of the second inning on a pair of RBI singles from Greg Garcia and Kolten Wong.
The Naturals' scored an unearned run off Martinez in third inning. With runners on first and second base, Xavier Scruggs committed an error as he tried to throw a force out at second base. Instead, the ball went into left field and Nick Van Stratten scored.
In the fourth inning, Scruggs atoned for his error has he hit a long home run to left field giving the Cardinals a 3-1 lead.
Springfield reliever Kevin Thomas came into the game following Martinez and provided three shutout innings retiring every batter he faced.
Northwest Arkansas scored their second unearned run of the ballgame in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly to center field. The run was unearned due to a wild pitch and passed ball in the inning with Deryk Hooker in relief.
Scruggs found a two-run single in the bottom of eighth inning providing some insurance for the Cardinals.
Springfield will continue their four-game series with the NW Arkansas Naturals tomorrow night at 6:08pm. The Cardinals will send Scott Gorgen to the mound against Elisaul Pimentel of the Naturals.
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