After dropping five games in a row to the NW Arkansas Naturals at home to finish off their longest homestand of the season, the Tulsa Drillers traveled to Springfield hoping that a change of venue would change their fortunes. But although they took an early lead, the Drillers would watch the Springfield Cardinals roar back as they would eventually defeat the Drillers by a score of 11-4 Sunday afternoon at Hammons Field.
The loss was the sixth straight for the Drillers which ties for their longest losing streak of the season. Jose Miguel Fernandez was one of the few bright spots for the Drillers Sunday as he went 2-4 to raise his season batting average to a league-leading .338 mark. But the Drillers lineup needed more than Fernandez to help it get rolling as they entered the game having scored just a single run over their last 2 innings.
Looking to jumpstart the struggling Tulsa offense, Tim Locastro led off the game by driving the first pitch of the day deep to left field. But Springfield left fielder Anthony Garcia made a leaping catch at the fence to rob Locastro of a leadoff homer and set the tone for the day.
Springfield would score first in the home half of the first as Dickie Joe Thon hit a one-out double before Jose Adolis Garcia traded places with him with a two-out double to put the Cardinals on top 1-0.
The Drillers would bounce back to take an early lead though, as they scored three runs in the second. Jacob Scavuzzo doubled and Fernandez followed with a single to get the inning going. Scavuzzo then came home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Paul Hoenecke before Johan Mieses cleared the bases with a two-run blast. It was the tenth homer of the year for Mieses and gave the Drillers a 3-1 advantage.
That lead would last until the fourth before the Cardinals would pull ahead for good.
Jacob Wilson led off the top of the fourth by reaching on a throwing error by Tulsa third baseman Zach McKinstry which would get the Cardinals off and running. Three hits and six batters later, the Cardinals were in front 4-3.
Springfield would proceed to add to their lead in the fifth as Anthony Garcia hit a three-run home run over the left field fence off Tulsa starter Chris Rearick, putting the Cardinals in front 7-3.
Matt Beaty tried to help swing momentum back in Tulsa's direction as he hit a solo homer in the top of the sixth off Springfield starter Matt Pearce to cut the deficit to 7-4.
But that would be as close as the Drillers would get as the Cardinals would go on to put the game out of reach. The Redbirds scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth off reliever Isaac Anderson and two runs off reliever Karch Kowalczyk to lead to the final score of 11-4.
Cardinals reliever Landon Beck and Pedro Echemendia would make that lead stand as they allowed just a single Drillers baserunner over the final three innings to seal the victory.
Pearce picked up his third victory against the Drillers this year as he improved his season record to 6-5 with the victory for Springfield. Rearick took the loss for Tulsa in his first professional start since 2015.
Tulsa and Springfield will continue their four-game series Monday night in a game that will also mark the Texas League's first-half finale. The Drillers had originally planned on starting Anderson before he pitched in relief Sunday, so they have yet to announce a starter. Springfield is scheduled to send out LHP Austin Gomber (2-5, 5.32 ERA) with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.