The Drillers came into the series opening game against the Springfield Cardinals reeling from a season worst 4-game losing streak.
The first ever 4 game sweep by a visiting team at ONEOK Field saw the Drillers offense struggle to put numbers in the hits and runs columns on the scoreboard. Cardinals starting pitcher Scott Gorgen made sure that Tulsa's offense didn't snap out of their funk at Hammons Field on Friday night.
It appeared early on that the Drillers would get back to their winning ways after scoring 2 runs in the top of the first inning. Nolan Arenado blasted a 2-run homer to left center field to score Jimmy Cesario who drew a one out walk. The 2 run first inning marked the first time in four games that the Drillers had scored first.
Springfield got one of those runs back in the bottom of the second inning thanks to a solo home run by shortstop Greg Garcia. Tulsa starter Parker Frazier was able to retire the next two batters to end the inning and preserve the early lead.
Frazier, who has been plagued by minimal run support this season, took it upon himself to jump start the offense in the third inning. The Tulsa- native lined a single into right field to begin the Tulsa threat.
Frazier was forced out by a Josh Rutledge ground ball before Cesario was hit by a pitch to put runners on 1st and 2nd base. Arenado delivered again with a single to load the bases and bring up Kiel Roling. An RBI groundout by the first baseman gave the Drillers their 3rd and final run of the evening.
A sacrifice fly from Chris Swauger cut the Cards deficit to one in the bottom of the inning. Two frames later, Springfield put up a crooked number on the scoreboard and took the lead for good. Kolten Wong led off the bottom of the fifth with his third homer of the year. Three batters later Swauger struck again, this time with his first home run of the season. The 2-run shot made the score 5-3 in favor of the Cardinals.
An RBI groundout by Garcia in the bottom of the seventh gave Springfield another insurance run and sealed the Drillers fate. Tulsa managed to load the bases in the ninth but stranded all three runners. The three hits in the inning were the first Drillers hits since the third inning.
Tulsa hitters were held to seven hits and were struck out thirteen times on the night. Gorgen picked up the win, going 6 innings while allowing 4 hits, 3 earned runs and fanning 10. Frazier was credited with his fourth loss of the season dropping his record to 2-4 with a 3.06 ERA.
Game 2 of the four game set between these two teams will be played on Saturday night in Springfield. Tulsa starter Nick Schmidt (2-1, 3.73 ERA) will face off against Deryk Hooker for the Cards. Hooker will make his 2012 debut with a first pitch scheduled for 6:08PM.
:...Arenado extended his hitting streak to 8 games and picked up his 3rd homer of the season....Springfield reliever Keith Butler picked up his 6th save of the year...Gorgen picked up his first win of 2012 and has a season ERA of 4.46.