The Missions got on the board in the bottom of the first with a Drew Macias single, a stolen base and an error that pushed him to third before a Brett Dowdy single knocked him in.
Springfield loaded the bases with one out in the top half of the fourth, getting a slow roller down the third base line that third baseman Seth Johnston hoped would go foul – only to see it land on the line. After a sacrifice fly brought home one run, a single to left fielder Chad Huffman threatened to bring a second run home. His throw home was offline but Jose Lobaton caught the ball and dove back to catch the runner trying to touch home.
“I was blocking home plate and I thought he had a chance to slide but he didn’t slide,” Lobaton began. “When he didn’t slide I realized I had to tag him out and did.”
The Cardinals tacked on a run off starter Stephen Faris in the sixth, scoring an unearned run thanks to a Drew Macias error on a missed fly ball.
“Our offense kind of struggled the last two days and our pitchers kept us in the game today,” Craig Cooper said. “We got a couple of breaks and all of a sudden we are looking at a rally.”
Faris allowed two runs, one earned, over 5.2 innings.
“I just worked on keeping the ball down,” Faris said. “I was working on getting ahead of the batters and have found over the last two outings I have been more consistent with that.”
Manny Ayala was almost the cause of a run and ended up being pivotal to preventing it in the top half of the seventh. A wild pitch with a runner on third base scooted past Jose Lobaton. The backstop turned and fired to Ayala who was racing in from the mound. Ayala caught the ball and swiped down to catch the runner before his foot touched home, keeping the score at 2-1.
Jose Lobaton cracked a one-out single in the bottom half and went on to steal his first base of the year, moving to third on an error. Sean Kazmar hit a dribbler to first and the throw home was in time but the catcher dropped the ball, tying the game at 2-2.
Kyle Blanks took a 3-2 pitch to the vacated spot at second base with Chad Huffman moving on the pitch, a nifty piece of hitting, punching the ball on the outside corner and pushing Huffman to third base without no outs in the eighth. Cooper, pinch-hitting for Mike Baxter, lined a single between short and third to put the Missions ahead 3-2.
“It is staying loose while trying to have fun while also staying in the game,” Cooper said of his pinch-hitting role. “You try and take some swings in the cage. The big thing is when your number is called to be ready to go into the game.”
A Seth Johnston walk loaded the bases and Lobaton followed suit with an RBI walk. Sean Kazmar’s sacrifice fly pushed the San Antonio lead to 5-2.
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