Last night was a good start as they beat the Tulsa Drillers 8-2 in the first of a four-game series at Hammons Field. And, they took over third place in the Texas League East Division. By doing so, Springfield picked up a full game on the division-leading Arkansas Travelers after the Wichita Wranglers came from behind in a 6-1 deficit to beat Arkansas 9-8.
In the lop-sided scoring game on Tuesday night, Rick Ankiel once again proved that his power is transferable from his pitching arm to his bat. Ankiel put the Cardinals on the scoreboard first by shooting a line drive 345 feet over the right field wall, his fifth home run in a Springfield uniform and his 16th of the year, giving the Cards a 1-0 lead. He would hit a two-run double in the eighth inning that would break a 2-2 tie by driving in shortstop Brendan Ryan and outfielder Tyler Parker (who joined the team just before game time) to give the Cards a 4-2 lead.
Cody Haerther hit a solo home run in the fourth inning, his sixth of the year, to give Springfield a 2-0 lead.
Tulsa got a run in the sixth inning when Tony Miller hit his 16th home run to left field and scored another run in the seventh when Tino Sanchez hit a game-tying double to even the score at 2-2
Jordan Pals pitched his first win in his last seven starts. Pals worked seven innings and was pulled for pinch hitter Tyler Parker, who walked and came into score on Ankiel's second hit of the night, breaking the tie and giving the Cards the lead at 4-2.
Leading 4-2 in the eighth inning, and after Josh Kinney pitched a 1-2-3 top of the eighth, the Cards continued to score, putting up four insurance runs to take an 8-2 lead. Catcher Brad Cresse hit an RBI single to bring home Gabe Johnson who had been given a walk to open the inning, making it 5-2. Pinch-hitter Rayner Laya hit a two-run single making it 7-2 and Shaun Boyd put the icing on the inning and the game by driving in Brendan Ryan to give Springfield an 8-2 lead.
Cory Doyne pitched a scoreless ninth to match Kinney's eighth.
The Springfield Cardinals are now 26-31 for the second half and 61-66 overall.
Randy Leek (13-6) will take the mound for the Cards tonight (Wednesday) in an attempt to be the Texas League's first 14-game winner. He will face Tulsa's right-hander Emmanuel Ulloa (5-3).
The game can be heard live on Springfield's KWTO JOCK 98.7 FM or online at www.springfieldcardinals.com.
Tickets to all remaining home games are available at the Hammons Field Ticket Office, by calling (417) 863-2143 or on line at www.springfieldcardinals.com.