SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — An unlikely grand slam ended the hopes of one of those patented clutch Yadier Molina moments.
Hitting out of the eight-hole, Missions shortstop Matthew Batten did in the Cardinals with a granny in the eighth, his first homer since June 27, 2017. That shot to the heart pushed the Missions to a 5-0 lead in a 6-0 win over Springfield in front of a sellout crowd of 6,967 Sunday night.
It was the third straight sellout crowd and fourth of the season at Hammons Field, with the last two coming in waves to see Molina on his two-day rehab assignment. In all, 22,288 fans watched baseball at Hammons over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Molina’s arm was certainly working Sunday night as he was responsible for a pickoff and a home-to-third assist that may have saved a run.
After catching five innings Saturday, Molina caught eight innings on Sunday.
Springfield trailed just 1-0 until Batten’s grand slam.
Matt Pearce made his 2018 debut tonight, starting and tossing four scoreless innings while allowing three hits, walking three and striking out four.
Pearce was a Mid-Season and Post-Season Texas League All-Star for Springfield in 2017 in addition to being named the Texas League Player of the Month for May 2017.
Sunday was his first start since September 3, 2017 for Triple-A Memphis.
The Cardinals are off Monday before beginning a four-game series at Texas League North Division rival Northwest Arkansas on Tuesday.
Springfield returns home next Saturday for an eight-game homestand against Tulsa and Arkansas.