Tulsa Drillers starting pitcher Josh Sborz came into Tuesday night's game riding a string of three starts where he had tossed 15 consecutive shutout innings. But that streak came to an end in the first inning as the Springfield Cardinals would end up scoring four runs against Sborz in an eventual 5-2 defeat of the Drillers at Hammons Field.
The Drillers outhit the Cardinals for the second straight night with nine hits compared to seven for the home club, but they weren't able to get them when they counted.
Springfield manufactured a run right away Tuesday as Oscar Mercado led off the home half of the first with a base hit before promptly stealing second. A groundout moved him over to third before rehabbing big-leaguer Stephen Piscotty brought him home with an RBI groundout to put the Cardinals in front 1-0.
The Cardinals added another run in the second inning when they loaded the bases thanks to two walks, a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a passed ball by Wynston Sawyer to go up 2-0. The damage could have been worse, but Sborz buckled down to strike out the final two batters in the frame and strand runners at second and third.
Jacob Wilson helped Springfield double its lead in the fourth with a two-run shot over the left-center field fence, putting the Cardinals in front 4-0. The blast was Wilson's fifth of the year.
Meanwhile, none of the Drillers batters outside of Tim Locastro and Edwin Rios were able to get much going at the plate. The duo of standout performers collected six of the nine Tulsa hits on the evening while no other Drillers batter had more than a single hit.
Springfield starter Matt Pearce was making his second start of the year against the Drillers, and he did his job as he allowed just a single home run over his seven innings of work. He also struck out seven Drillers batters while walking none.
Rios finally got the Drillers on the scoreboard in the sixth inning with a solo shot that was crushed into centerfield. The blast was Rios' first in his past 11 games and was his seventh of the season. The blast was just the second that Pearce has allowed this season over his first six starts.
But the Cardinals got the run back in the home half of the sixth on a solo shot by Casey Grayson to bring the Redbirds lead back to a comfortable 5-1 advantage.
The duo of Locastro and Rios came through again for Tulsa in the eighth inning as Locastro led off the frame with a double before eventually coming around to score on an RBI single from Rios. That brought the Drillers to within 5-2, but that would be as close as the club would get.
Sborz took the loss for Tulsa after allowing 4 runs over his 4.1 innings of work while Pearce got the victory for Springfield.
The Drillers and Cardinals will now play the third game of their four-game set Wednesday morning. The pitching matchup should be a marquee one as RHP Walker Buehler (0-0, 4.50 ERA) will toe the rubber for Tulsa while Springfield will send out RHP Jack Flaherty (6-0, 0.99 RA) to try and secure the series win over the Drillers. First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 AM and can be heard live on AM 1300 The Buzz.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.