SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — That’s the Ryan Helsley that Cardinals fans know.
The same Helsley that came into 2017 with a career 2.22 ERA over 49 Minor League starts.
The Helsley that MLB.com ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the St. Louis farm system at the beginning of the season.
Tuesday night, that Helsley struck out eight Northwest Arkansas Naturals over six innings of four-hit baseball in a 3-1 pitcher’s duel of a Cardinals win.
It was a win that pulled the Cardinals (9-8) above .500 for the second time this season after an 0-4 start and kept them within a game of the Texas League North Division leading Arkansas Travelers.
After setting down the Naturals (6-11) in order in the first and getting the first two batters of the second, Helsley allowed a single to Jecksson Flores and a triple to Anderson Miller, putting the Cardinals in a 1-0 hole. But that would be the only damage of the night done by Naturals bats.
Helsley allowed just two hits over the next four innings and Cardinals relievers Ramon Santos and Landon Beck followed suit. Santos pitched two clean hitless frames and Beck earned the save after giving up a single hit in the nith.
In a game with just nine combined hits, Naturals starter Zach Lovvorn retired the first eight Cardinals of the game before Thomas Spitz reached on an infield single with two outs in the third.
After Ramon Urias singled and advanced to third when Lane Thomas reached on an error, a sac fly from John Nogowski scored Urias and tied the game 1-1 in the fourth.
As has been the story all season, Nogowski delivered again in the sixth with a two-out RBI single to left scoring Urias again, this time from second, and putting the Cardinals up 2-1.
Springfield’s one-run lead doubled one batter later when Victor Roache smacked a 3-2 pitch to the 400-foot mark in center for his second triple of the season, bringing in Nogowski and capping the scoring.
WATCHING THE WEATHER
As of end of game Tuesday, Wednesday’s 11:10 a.m. game vs the Naturals is still on as scheduled. For future weather updates, stay tuned in to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts in addition to our Cardinals E-Blasts.
The Cardinals and Naturals are scheduled to meet for the third game of a four-game set at 11:10 a.m. Wednesday. Conner Greene (2-1) is the projected starter for the Cardinals and Scott Blewett (0-2) for the Naturals. Greene’s 2.63 ERA is fourth in the Texas League among eligible full-time starters.