Car­di­nals’ arms keep Nat­u­rals in check

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL -

CAR­DI­NALS 4, NAT­U­RALS 1 NAT­U­RALS PUB­LIC RE­LA­TIONS

SPRING­FIELD, Mo. — For the sec­ond straight evening, the North­west Arkansas Nat­u­rals strug­gled to gain of­fen­sive trac­tion against stout Spring­field Car­di­nals pitch­ing Mon­day.

The Nat­u­rals mus­tard just one run on six hits in a 4-1 loss to the Car­di­nals at Ham­mons Field. North­west Arkansas went just 1-for-8 with run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion.

The lone knock with men in scor­ing po­si­tion came by Nicky Lopez with two outs in the fifth in­ning to score a run.

Al­fredo Es­calera coaxed a walk against Spring­field starter Dakota Hud­son (8-4), to open the fifth frame and scored when Lopez laced a two-out dou­ble down the left­field line to cut the Car­di­nals’ lead to 2-1.

North­west Arkansas (1113 sec­ond half, 50-44 over­all) sent left-han­der, Fos­ter Grif­fin (7-2) to the mound as the starter. The 21-year old lasted five in­nings and struck out two while suf­fer­ing his first los­ing de­ci­sion since June 4.

The Nat­u­rals had a scor­ing chance in the fourth in­ning halted by a leap­ing catch by left fielder Os­car Mer­cado. With a man on sec­ond base and one out, An­der­son Miller cracked a drive to left, which Mer­cado nabbed while scal­ing the fence.

Nat­u­rals re­liever Richard Love­lady pitched two in­nings and al­lowed a run with a pair of strike­outs, while Jake Newberry stayed hot on the hill with a score­less eighth in­ning. Newberry owns a 0.82 earned run av­er­age over his last nine ap­pear­ances, sur­ren­der­ing just one run over 11 in­nings of re­lief work.

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