The Tulsa Drillers closed out the first half of the Texas League season with an 8-3 loss to the Springfield Cardinals Monday night at ONEOK Field. The sloppy game featured seven total errors, with Tulsa accounting for four of the miscues.
The Drillers had clinched the first-half North Division title last Wednesday. They finish the half with a 38-31 record, the second-best mark in the TL.
The Drillers got off to a quick start in Monday's loss, thanks to Tyler Massey and Cristhian Adames. Consecutive doubles from the pair with one out in the bottom of the first gave Tulsa a 1-0 lead.
It remained that way as Drillers starting pitcher Carlos Hernandez breezed through the first five innings, but the lefthander ran into trouble in the top of the sixth. Jacob Wilson and James Ramsey produced consecutive singles before a fielder's choice grounder put runners at first and third with two outs. The inning continued when Cody Stanley reached on catcher's interference.
With the bases loaded, Hernandez just missed with a 3-1 pitch to Patrick Wisdom to walk in a run and tie the game. On the very next pitch, David Popkins singled into left field, plating two runs to give the Redbirds a 3-1 lead.
The Drillers had a quick response in the bottom half of the sixth thanks to some help from the Cardinals, as Massey and Ryan Casteel both reached on errors. With one out, Jayson Langfels singled home a run to cut the deficit to one. After a wild pitch from Springfield starter Jonathan Cornelius, Jared Simon plated Casteel with a ground out that tied the score at 3-3.
A disastrous seventh inning for the Drillers gave Springfield the lead for good. With one out, Aledmys Diaz singled off reliever Dan Houston and Mike O'Neill drew a walk. Stanley followed with a routine fly ball to shallow right-center field. Centerfielder David Kandilas appeared to be in position to make the catch, but right fielder Massey cut in front of him and had the ball deflect off his glove. Diaz scored on the play to put the Cards back in front. Houston then intentionally walked Ramsey to load the bases before unintentionally walking Curt Smith to force home another run and make it 5-3.
The Cardinals tacked on three more runs in the eighth to account for the final score.
Hernandez deserved a better fate than he received. The Tulsa starter went six innings, allowing six hits and only two earned runs. His won-loss record remains at 1-4 despite a 2.50 ERA.
Offensively, Tulsa was limited to only five hits in the game by four different Springfield pitchers.
The two teams will continue their series Tuesday night with the opening game of the second half of the season. Mike Piazza (0-1, 3.60 ERA) will make his second start for the Drillers, and Kurt Heyer (2-3, 5.01 ERA) will take the mound for the Cardinals. It is a 2 Works For You $2 Tuesday with starting time set for 7:05PM at ONEOK Field.