Corpus Christi (Kiii Sports)-
Oscar Taveras smacked his 21st home run and four Springfield relievers tossed a shutout inning each as the Cardinals bounced Corpus Christi 5-2 Monday before 5,128.
Springfield improved to 32-17 in Texas League second-half play while averting a series sweep. The Cards are 67-52 overall. The Hooks fell to 31-19 and 68-52.
Their lead over second-place San Antonio in the South Division is four games with 20 to play.
With Springfield clinging to a 3-2 ninth-inning lead, Taveras connected off Corpus Christi closer Jason Stoffel on a two-run shot which struck the right-field foul pole.
Deryk Hooker, Michael Blazek, Eric Fornataro and Keith Butler threw blanks at the Hooks over the final four innings. Butler recorded his league-leading 24th save.
Springfield combined long, medium and small ball to post three in the second. Jamie Romak drove the frame's first pitch off the cotton press in left field, his eighth round-tripper of 2012.
Paul Clemens allowed a one-out single to Greg Garcia and wild pitched him to third before Adam Melker's infield RBI safety. Melker ultimately scored on pitcher Richard Castillo's bunt hit.
The Hooks stranded three over the first two innings and left three more aboard in the third, but managed to push Jon Singleton (two-out double) across when Castillo issued a bases-loaded walk to Jay Fernandez.
Corpus Christi pulled to within a run at 3-2 during the fifth. Jacob Goebbert drove a lead-off double to right-center, took third on Austin Wates' infield single and home when Fernandez hit into a 5-4-3 twin killing.
Castillo (7-4) took his leave after five innings, six hits, three walks and three strikeouts. The right-hander has allowed three earned runs and 11 hits in 18 innings over his last three starts.
Clemens (1-2) went a frame deeper and was charged with nine hits. He walked two and struck out three.