SPRINGFIELD, MO - The defending World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals returned to the state of Missouri for the first time since their seven game series win against the Texas Rangers. But it wasn't at Busch Stadium; Hammons Field in Springfield was the spot and fans came out in full force to show their support for the champs.
The crowd of 10,079, the third largest in Hammons Field history and biggest since 2006, were starved for offense early as both starting pitchers, Tyler Lyons for Springfield and Trevor Rosenthal who are scheduled to both be in the Springfield rotation, each threw four scoreless innings. Lyons matched Rosenthal's four strikeouts and allowed just one hit. Rosenthal threw four perfect innings.
After a scoreless inning from Sam Freeman out of the Springfield bullpen, St. Louis plated two runs against reliever Eric Fornataro. Vance Albitz led off with a single and moved to third on a single by Matt Carpenter. With runners at second and third, Tony Cruz grounded out to second scoring Albitz and Erik Komatsu followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to give the "Big Birds" a 2-0 lead.
St. Louis added another run in the 7th off of Keith Butler when Palm Beach shortstop Ronny Gil hit a long home run to right to make it 3-0.
Springfield, who had just two hits both off of Kyle McClellan in the 5th, got lead-off batter Kolten Wong on base thanks to a walk. He would come around and score on an RBI triple by top prospect Oscar Taveras. An RBI ground out by Xavier Scruggs put Springfield within just a run.
The 2nd best prospect in the organization, Carlos Martinez who will begin the season in Palm Beach, pitched four sharp innings for St. Louis to earn the save.
Springfield received scoreless frames from Nick Greenwood and Jorge Rondon out of the bullpen.