SPRINGFIELD, MO – In the opening game of six-game series, the Tulsa Drillers spotted Springfield an early two-run lead on Tuesday night, and they were never able to completely overcome it. The Drillers scored four runs over the final two innings, but they came up one run short in a
SPRINGFIELD, MO – In the opening game of six-game series, the Tulsa Drillers spotted Springfield an early two-run lead on Tuesday night, and they were never able to completely overcome it. The Drillers scored four runs over the final two innings, but they came up one run short in a 7-6 loss to the Cardinals at Springfield’s Hammons Field.
Springfield took its initial lead in the bottom of the first inning. Tulsa starting pitcher Kyle Hurt gave up one hit and issued two walks that led to a pair of runs for the Redbirds. It was a short night for Hurt, as he departed with two outs in the first after reaching his inning pitch limit.
The Drillers responded in the top of the second. Doubles from Kody Hoese and Justin Yurchak produced one run, and a two-out RBI single by Brandon Lewis tied the game at 2-2.
The Redbirds took the lead for good in the third. Chase Pinder singled and stole both second and third bases before scoring the go-ahead run on a base hit by Malcom Nunez.
Julio E. Rodriguez homered off Tulsa reliever Jose Hernandez in the sixth inning to make it a 4-2 Springfield lead, but Ryan Ward’s 20th homer of the year in the top of the eighth pulled Tulsa back to within one run.
The game was essentially decided in the bottom half of the eighth. Nunez started the inning when he drove a pitch from Drillers reliever Kevin Malisheski over the left-center field fence for his 13th homer of the season. After the homer, a walk and two singles loaded the bases before a pair of sacrifice flies increased the Cards lead to 7-3.
The Drillers made things uncomfortable for the Redbirds in the final inning. Carson Taylor drew a leadoff walk, and Yurchak followed with his third homer of the year, a long drive that landed on the batting cages well beyond the right field fence. After a fly out, Lewis belted his 8th home run to trim Tulsa’s deficit to a single run at 7-6.
Leonel Valera drew another walk to put the tying run on base, forcing Springfield to summon Dalton Roach from the bullpen. Roach ended Tulsa’s hopes of a comeback when he struck out Jonny DeLuca and got Ward on a fly out to end the game and collect his second save.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*The Drillers used five pitchers in the contest with the bullpen working 8.1 innings. Gus Varland was the only Tulsa pitcher to not give up a run, working two perfect innings with two strikeouts.
*Jose Martinez suffered the loss despite giving up just one run in 2.1 relief innings. It was his first loss since May 15.
*Teams continue to have success on the base paths against the Drillers. The Cards had four stolen bases in the game, giving Tulsa opponents 132 steals on the season. The steals have come at an 86% success rate.
*Yurchak finished 2-3 with two runs scored and three driven in. He has now hit safely in seven straight games. Lewis also had two hits in the game.
*Tulsa now has a 3-4 record on its 12-game road trip.
UP NEXT: The Drillers will face the Cardinals again on Wednesday night in the second game of their six-game series. Starting time at Hammons Field is set for 6:35 p.m. The starting pitchers are scheduled to be:
Tulsa – RHP Gavin Stone (5-2, 1.29 ERA)
Springfield – RHP Gordon Graceffo (4-1, 3.50 ERA)