Sunday's game was winner-take-all, as the two teams had to finish off the last two and a half innings of Saturday's suspended game, prior to Sunday's regularly scheduled game. Springfield's Juan Richardson had a tie-breaking homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, giving the Cards a 3-2 win in the completion of Saturday night's contest.
That set up Sunday's series finale, which was all Tulsa from the beginning. Ian Stewart's solo home run put Tulsa on the board 1-0 in the second inning. Tulsa got another run on a Jordan Czarniecki RBI groundout, taking a 2-0 lead.
Terry Evans continued his monster home stand, homering for the sixth time since joining the Cards. His solo shot to right field put the Cards on the board, at 2-1.
Tulsa scored five unearned runs in the third inning to break the game open against Springfield's Mike Parisi (3-3). A Springfield error and two hit batters were just part of the five-run inning. Jordan Czarniedcki's three-run homer to left, his eighth of the year, capped the inning, giving Tulsa a commanding 7-1 lead.
Tulsa starter Marc Kaiser (6-5) gave up a run on four hits in his first two innings, but settled down to dominate thereafter. Kaiser, who fired his first complete game of the year, allowed one run on five hits, retiring 21 men in a row at one point.
Tulsa added a run in the eighth, as Matt Macri rounded out the scoring against reliever Chris Russ, delivering an RBI single to make it 8-1.
Mike McCoy's one-out single in the ninth inning broke the string of 21 straight batters retired by Marc Kaiser. With one out though, pinch-hitter Cody Haerther grounded into the game-ending double play, sending the Drillers into an on-field celebration in front of 8,100 fans at Hammons Field.
With the victory, the Tulsa Drillers (41-29) win the Texas League's first-half North Division title, clinching a playoff spot in September. Springfield finishes the first half at 39-29, one game behind the Drillers.
The Cardinals will take the next three days off to enjoy the All-Star Break. Congratulations goes out once again to Reid Gorecki, Rico Washington, Stuart Pomeranz and Mark Worrell, who will be heading to Little Rock to participate in the 2006 Texas League All-Star Game. The game will be held at Ray Winder Field on Tuesday night. The game can be heard live online by logging on to www.milb.com.
The Cardinals will open the second half on the road with a seven-game road trip. The trip starts with four in San Antonio, beginning on Thursday night. Rich Rundles (5-5) will take on San Antonio right-hander Ryan Feierabend (3-5) in the series-opener. The Cards return to Hammons Field on Friday, June 30th, as they take on the Wichita Wranglers in the first home game of the second half. Tickets are always available by calling (417) 863-2143 or online at www.springfieldcardinals.com.