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Colby Rasmus cranked a walk-off homer in the ninth inning Thursday to give the Springfield Cardinals a 4-3 win over the Tulsa Drillers and a 2-0 lead in their Texas League playoff series.
Drillers reliever Jarrett Grube (0-1) retired the first two batters in the ninth, but Rasmus sent an 0-1 pitch over the right-field wall for his first career playoff homer.
"I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit, you know, nothing too crazy," Rasmus said. "I thought it had a real good chance of going out. It did, and it was pretty neat."
The 21-year-old center fielder, who led the league with 29 roundtrippers in the regular season, was hitless in his first four at-bats Thursday.
"It didn't feel too different until I rounded third," said Rasmus, who was met by his teammates as he crossed the plate to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series. "I took a few hits in the ribs and some pats on the head at the plate."
Springfield held a 3-1 advantage in the eighth before Christian Colonel hit a two-run homer, his first of the postseason.
"Colonel hit that homer, which put a little sting into it," Rasmus said. "It made it a little more interesting. When that happens, you've just have to get back in there, get back at it."
Allen Craig lifted a sacrifice fly in the first and walked and scored in the third for the Cardinals, who won the opener, 4-3, on Wednesday.
"We felt like we could have put a few more runs up on the board," Rasmus said. "A three-run lead, it's not that much. We'll go out there tomorrow and try to put a win on the board. I'm going to keep doing the same things I've been doing all season."
Springfield reliever Matthew Scherer (1-0) recorded the last five outs, striking out one. Starter P.J. Walters yielded one run on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts over seven innings.
Colonel also doubled and scored on Matt Miller's single in the sixth for the Drillers, who host Game 3 on Friday.
Grube (0-1) gave up one run on one hit and retired two batters. Starter Ryan Mattheus allowed three runs -- two earned -- on five hits with two walks and a strikeout over six innings.
The Drillers had a chance to take the lead in the eighth when Aaron Rifkin followed Colonel's homer with a double and Miller walked. But Scherer came on and retired Christopher Frey on a lineout to right fielder Reid Gorecki, who doubled off Miller.
Michael Blinn is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.