The Tulsa Drillers got an early home run from Tim Locastro and seven strong innings from starting pitcher Scott Barlow to edge the Springfield Cardinals 2-1 Sunday afternoon at ONEOK Field. The win was the second in a row for the Drillers and their 8th in the past 11 games. It moved them to within one game of the Cardinals in the North Division standings of the Texas League with only nine games remaining in the first half of the season as all four division teams remain in the thick of the pennant race.
As they did the night before, the Cardinals jumped to a quick lead in the game with a run in the top of the first inning. Oscar Mercado opened the contest with a base hit off Barlow, and Casey Turgeon followed with another to put runners at the corners. Mercado came home with the game's first run when Magneuris Sierra grounded into a force out.
Locastro got the run back with one swing in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs and the bases empty, the centerfielder belted his third home run of the season. The blast from Locastro landed in the Busch Terrace and ended a 0-15 slump.
The game-winning run for Drillers came in the sixth. Edwin Rios and Matt Beaty drew walks before Paul Hoenecke lined a double that fell in front of Mercado in centerfield. Rios scored on the hit to give Tulsa the slim one-run lead, but it would prove to be enough.
Barlow was outstanding, delivering the longest outing by a Tulsa pitcher this season. The performance lowered his ERA to 2.09 and improved his record to 4-2. The only damage against the right-hander came with that first-inning run. Barlow allowed only one other hit besides the two in the first inning while not walking a batter and striking out seven.
Shea Spitzbarth held the Cards scoreless over the final two innings to close out the victory and record his second save of the year.
Springfield starting pitcher Zac Gallen was the hard-luck loser, surrendering only two runs in 5.1 innings.
Five of the last seven wins for the Drillers have come by a single run.
Tulsa will continue its series with Springfield Monday morning at ONEOK Field. Andrew Sopko (1-4, 4.24 ERA) will pitch for the Drillers against Dakota Hudson (4-2, 2.98 ERA) of the Cardinals. Starting time at ONEOK Field is scheduled for 11:05AM
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.