Springfield, MO - The Tulsa Drillers entered Monday's game as the hottest team in the Texas League winning their last four games. They arrived in Springfield hoping to keep the streak going, but the Cardinals put an end to it by winning the first game of the series 7-2.
The first inning did not go well for starter Andrew Sopko as he walked the first two Cardinals to face him. Jose Adolis Garcia would then reach on an error by Jose Fernandez to load the bases. A walk and a sacrifice fly by Anthony Garcia followed to bring the score to 2-0 in favor of Springfield.
That would be the end of the night for Sopko who only pitched a third of an inning on 32 pitches. Tim Shibuya then got the call and got the first batter he faced to ground into a double play to limit the damage.
The score remained the same until the top of the fifth. Johan Mieses walked, then Michael Ahmed hit his second home run of the season to tie the game 2-2. The pitcher Shibuya hit his first double of the year in the inning.
Edward Paredes came in to pitch the bottom of the fifth and allowed a leadoff double to Jesse Jenner. After a sacrifice bunt moved him to third, Paredes threw a wild pitch that plated Jenner giving the Cards a 3-2 lead.
In the top of the eighth, the Drillers threatened by loading the bases with singles by Edwin Rios and Fernandez, and a Kyle Garlick walk. Mieses would ground out to end the inning.
The wheels fell off for the Drillers in the bottom of the eighth. After getting three quick outs in the seventh, Yaisel Sierra got the first batter he faced in the eighth. He then allowed three straight singles including an RBI by Alex Mejia to make the score 4-2. Sierra then balked which forced him to intentionally walk Bruce Caldwell to keep the double play intact. The damage then came by way of an Anthony Garcia bases clearing double that gave the Cardinals a 7-2 lead.
Up until that eighth inning, the Tulsa bullpen was solid overall. Shibuya pitched three and two-thirds allowing no runs with two strikeouts, while Peredes pitched two innings where he allowed a single run on one hit with two strikeouts.
The Drillers will look to start a new winning streak on Tuesday night. Josh Sborz (1-1, 4.76 ERA) will face Matt Pearce (2-2, 3.03 ERA) in the second game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 at Hammons Field in Springfield.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.