OF Anthony Garcia delivered a go-ahead, pinch-hit RBI single in the top of the eighth to lift the Springfield Cardinals back in front for the 6-5 win against the Tulsa Drillers before 4,546 fans at ONEOK Field on Tuesday night. With the win and an Arkansas loss, the Cardinals and Travelers are back into a tie for 1st place in the North Division Second Half Standings.
The Cardinals (17-15, 47-55) jumped into the early advantage with two runs in the top of the first against RHP Chris Anderson. With 2B Matt Williams at first base and two down, 1B Jonathan Rodriguez launched an RBI double to right-center field, bringing in Williams all the way from first base. 3B Bruce Caldwell then laced an RBI single through the left side, scoring Rodriguez from second base and increasing the early lead to 2-0.
The Drillers (14-18, 44-57) countered right away, plating three runs in the bottom of the first inning against RHP Mike Mayers. After two walks around a fly out started the stanza with two on and one away, C Kyle Farmer placed an RBI single to bring in the Drillers first run and keep runners at first and second base. SS Erisbel Arruebarrena then lined a single to left field with 1B Lars Anderson trying to score from second on the play, but LF Mike O’Neill threw out Anderson at the plate to keep Springfield ahead by one run. However, with runners at the corners and two down, consecutive RBI singles from LF Brian Burgamy and CF Peter Lavin lifted the Drillers into the 3-2 lead.
After RHP Chris Perry took over on the mound for the final out to end the first, the Cardinals swung right back in front in the top of the second. SS Aledmys Diaz and RF David Washington started the stanza with back-to-back walks, putting two men on with no outs. CF Breyvic Valera promptly delivered the game-tying knock, driving an RBI single to left-center to plate Diaz for the 3-3 tie. Perry attempted a sacrifice bunt, but Anderson fielded the ball and got Washington at third base, leaving runners at first and second with one down. O’Neill then worked a walk to load the bases, before 2B Matt Williams chopped into an RBI fielder’s choice, leading to the second out of the inning but also bringing Valera home from third, lifting the Cardinals into the 4-3 lead.
Perry went on to toss two more scoreless relief innings, keeping the Cardinals ahead by one through his 2.1-inning relief outing.
LHP Kyle Hald followed suit with a scoreless fourth and fifth, before the Cardinals added to the lead in the top of the sixth. With one down and the bases clear, Washington clubbed a solo home run to right field, his 10th blast of the year, increasing the Cardinals lead to 5-3.
Hald finished his 3.0-inning outing with a scoreless sixth, but the Drillers tied it in the bottom of the seventh against RHP Corey Baker (W, 4-4). After 3B Ronald Torreyes reached on an error to start the inning, Baker battled back with a strikeout. However, 1B Lars Anderson blooped a double to shallow left field, putting runners at second and third. Both then came home on a two-run triple from Farmer, squaring the score at 5-5.
The tie did not remain intact for long, however, with the Cardinals swinging back ahead in the top of the eighth against RHP Juan Jaime (L, 0-1). With two down, Valera kept the inning alive with a free pass, before OF Anthony Garcia entered as a pinch hitter. After Valera had taken second on a wild pitch, Garcia came through with the go-ahead RBI single through the middle, scoring Valera from second and lifting Springfield right back in front, 6-5.
RHP Ronnie Shaban (S, 3) took over for the bottom of the eighth and slammed the door with a pair of scoreless innings, closing the 6-5 win for the Cardinals.