The Tulsa Drillers closed out their longest homestand of the season Wednesday afternoon with a 7-5 loss to the Springfield Cardinals. The Drillers played from behind the entire game after spotting the Cards a first-inning lead and their late comeback fell short. The loss dropped Tulsa's second-half record to 0-2, while Springfield improved to 2-0.
Catcher Cody Stanley was the biggest nemesis for Tulsa pitchers. Stanley finished with three hits, including a home run, and added five runs batted in.
The Redbirds took the lead before much of the paid crowd of 6,798 found their way into the stadium for the 11:05AM start. The game's leadoff batter, Mike O'Neill, hit Tyler Anderson's third pitch for a double. After a one-out walk, Jonathan Rodriguez brought both runners home with a two-out double. Stanley lined Anderson's next offering into centerfield, scoring Rodriguez to make it 3-0.
The lead increased to four runs in the third inning when highly-touted prospect Aledmys Diaz walked, stole second and scored on another base hit by Stanley.
The Drillers cut the 4-0 lead in half with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. After a walk and a base hit put runners at first and third with one out, Jayson Langfels doubled home Tulsa's first run. A sacrifice fly from catcher Jose Gonzalez made it 4-2.
Stanley had a quick answer for Springfield in the top of the seventh. With two outs and runners at first and second, Stanley delivered his sixth home run of the season just inside the right field foul pole to give the Cardinals their biggest lead of the day at 7-2.
But, Tulsa again battled back. Back-to-back double from Tyler Massey and Taylor Featherston in the bottom of the seventh cut the deficit back to four runs.
In the eighth, Langfels led off with a triple, and Jared Simon followed with his fifth homer of the year. The opposite-field drive pulled the Drillers to within 7-5.
They threatened again in the bottom of the ninth. Following singles by Featherston and Ryan Casteel, they had runners at first and third with two outs. Cards' reliever Ryan Sherriff ended the comeback hopes when he induced a groundball to third from Langfels for the final out of the game.
The Drillers lost despite out-hitting the Cardinals 12-9. Five different Tulsa players had two hits in the game.
The pitching matchup for the series finale featured a pair of first-round draft choices. Tyler Anderson worked the first three innings for the Drillers and was charged for four runs on four hits and three walks. The loss dropped his record to 3-3.
Marco Gonzales pitched the first 5 1/3 innings for the Redbirds and allowed two runs on six hits and two walks. The victory improved the lefthander's record to 3-2.
Sherriff picked up his second save of the season.
Tulsa will now head to Springdale, Arkansas for a four-game series with the Northwest Arkansas. It will be the final series before the two-day All-Star break next week. The pitchers for Thursday's opener will be Richard Castillo (2-5, 4.64 ERA) for the Drillers and Jason Adam (1-6, 5.87 ERA) for the Naturals. Starting time for the opener is scheduled for 7:05PM at Arvest Ballpark.