Tulsa, OK - The Springfield Cardinals took the opening contest of the road trip, 7-3, against the Tulsa Drillers, before 4,472 fans at ONEOK Field on Monday night.
The Cardinals (19-19, 52-54) jumped in front with a run in the top of the first inning against LHP Tyler Matzek (L, 7-7). LF Mike O'Neill led off with a well-placed infield single just inside the third base line, which led to a throwing error by Matzek, putting O'Neill at second base. After a ground out advanced O'Neill to third, he darted home on an RBI sacrifice fly from 3B Ruben Gotay to lift the Cardinals into the early 1-0 lead.
Springfield stretched the lead quickly in the top of the second inning. SS Luis Mateo led off with a solo home run, clearing the left field fence for the two-run lead. C Cody Stanley singled himself on next, and then moved to second base on a balk. After a strikeout, O'Neill drove an RBI single to center field, scoring Stanley for the 3-0 advantage.
Cardinals LHP Jonathan Cornelius (W, 3-5) kept the Drillers off the board through his first three innings, but Tulsa (16-22, 46-60) struck in the bottom of the fourth. With two down, C Dustin Garneau drove a solo home run to left field, decreasing the Tulsa deficit to 3-1.
The Cardinals, though, stretched the lead right back out in the top of the fifth inning. O'Neill led off with his third single of the game, joined on the bases by 2B Colin Walsh, who worked a walk. Following a strikeout, 1B Xavier Scruggs lined an RBI single to left field, bringing in O'Neill to make it 4-1.
The Drillers again came back within two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. A LF Jaron Shepherd double started the inning, before a ground out moved him to third. RF Kyle Parker brought in Shepherd with an RBI sacrifice fly, cutting it down to 4-2.
However, the Cardinals again had a response, this time with three runs on five walks in the top of the seventh inning. The inning started with four straight walks drawn by O'Neill, Walsh, Gotay and Scruggs, with Scruggs's free pass forcing in O'Neill from third. After a fielder's choice retired Walsh at the plate, CF James Ramsey worked a bases-loaded walk of his own, plating Gotay from third base. Mateo capped the frame with an RBI fielder's choice, scoring Scruggs for the 7-2 lead.
After the six strong frames by Cornelius, limiting Tulsa to just the two runs while striking out a season-high six batters, RHP Kevin Thomas dealt the seventh and eighth in scoreless fashion. Thomas started the bottom of the ninth, but Tulsa loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk with only one down, leading to LHP Lee Stoppelman (S, 2) taking over. 3B Tim Smalling welcomed Stoppelman to the mound with an RBI single to left field, but the Cards left-hander responded by inducing a game-ending 4-6-3 double play, closing the 7-3 win for Springfield.
Click here for the complete box score from Monday's game.
The Cardinals continue the seven-game trip on Tuesday with a 7:05pm First Pitch in Tulsa. Catch all the action live on Jock 98.7FM and SpringfieldCardinals.com, and tune in 15 minutes early for the Coyote's Sports Cafe Pregame Show.
Springfield returns home to kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday, August 6, taking on the Frisco RoughRiders at 7:09pm. That Tuesday will feature the Sysco Foods Team Baseball Card Set Giveaway for 4,000 fans, and will also be a Great Southern Bank $1 Dog Day. Gates open at 6:09pm. To view all of the great upcoming promotions at Hammons Field, click below.
For information about becoming a Season Ticket Holder, organizing a Group Outing, booking a Cake Pop Company Birthday Party or ordering Individual Game Tickets right now, call the Front Office at (417) 863-2143 or visit SpringfieldCardinals.com.
Click here for the Cardinals full 2013 Promotional Schedule and to get your tickets right now.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.