The Springfield Cardinals were winners of their last four games coming into Saturday night's contest. Ok, that covers factor number one.
Now to factor number two. Keep this in mind, if you give it, they will come. This was the case, as the first 2,500 got a free green Cardinals cap. We all know everyone loves ball caps, especially a free one.
Now to the game action.
Things did not start off good for the Drillers, as on their third pitch of the ballgame, a starter went down. Troy Tulowitzi, Tulsa's lead-off man, and the top prospect in the Colorado Rockies' organization got hit in the wrist on a 3-0 pitch. The wrist was tapes already, and team officials have hopes, at the time of the writing of this story, that the wrist is just bruised.
Nothing but zeros went up on the boards the first two innings. Tulsa would break through the scoreless tie in the third, scoring a pair of runs, to take a 2-0 at Hammons Field.
Springfield finally got on the boards in the fourth. After an error allowed Dan Moylan to reach, Jordan Pals got a free pass. That put a couple on for Cardinals shortstop Mike McCoy who laced a seeing-eye single up to the left of the bag at second. Moylan scored easily from second, and the Cards trailed only by a run 2-1.
Tulsa plated a run in the fifth, making the score 3-1.
The Cards got a lead-off double from Cody Haerther, who moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jarrett Hoffpauir. Dan Moylan hit a ball sharply for out two, and then pitcher Jordan Pals was lifted in favor of a pinch hitter. Nick Stavinoha, the pinch hitter drew a two out pass to put runners on the corners. Then with the third basemen playing way too deep, Mike McCoy reach base a perfect bunt, the runner at scored to make it 3-2 in favor of Tulsa.
Jordan Pals allowed three runs, on nine base hits. Pals walked two, and struck out on Driller in six innings of work.
Carmen Cali came on in relief in the seventh, and worked the Drillers 1-2-3.
Cardinal's first baseman Juan Richardson worked a lead-off walk to start the last of the seventh. Amaury Marti just missed his fourth homer of the year, flying out to the furthest edge of the warning track in left center field for the first out. Richardson put himself in scoring position on the fly-out, as he did a belly flop into second base. Travis Hanson's struggles continued as he struck-out on a 2-2 fastball for out two. Cody Haerther was lifted in favor of pitch hitter Shaun Boyd. Boyd reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners with two out. The threat was ended though on a Jarrett Hoffpaur fly-out to centerfield.
Cali worked around a one out double in the Drillers eighth, and held the score at 3-2. He'd later be lifted in favor of Mark Worrell, who'd pitch the ninth.
Dan Moylan led off the last of the eighth with a safety. Gabe Johnson then watched called third strike, turned, and started a heated conversation with the home plate. That conversation was interrupted by Cardinal skipper who was quickly tossed for arguing balls and strikes (Don't worry "Hammer" got his money's worth.). Mike McCoy got his fourth hit of the night, a double into center, to put a couple runners in scoring position with only one out. Reid Gorecki then sacrificed flied to right, scoring one, and moving another run 90 feet away. Juan Richardson was walked intentionally to put runners on the corners with two gone. The score was then 3-3, and the table was set for Amuary Marti, but he'd strike-out to end the innings. The damage was done though, and the game was tied 3-3 going to the ninth.
Worrell pitched a perfect ninth, and looked very good in doing so.
How about some free baseball? The fans got it, as the Cards went in order in the ninth.
Tulsa got back to back singles to put runners at the corners with no one out. Worrell would strike out Christian Colonel for out one. Jordan Czarnecki then sacrifice flied to right to bring the lead run home for the Drillers making the score 4-3. Alvin Colina struck out to end the Tulsa at bat. Springfield would need a rally to keep the win streak going.
Kevin Estrada struck-out to lead off the Cardinal tenth. Catcher Gabe Johnson then worked a one out walk, to put the tying run at first for a red hot Mike McCoy. (He was already 4-5 on the night with three singles, a double, 2 RBI's.) Johnson would move to second on a wild pitch, to put the tying run in scoring position, but McCoy's hot night would end as he struck-out looking for out two. Reid Gorecki, who was making his first start tonight after being on the DL struck-out looking, and Tulsa won 4-3.
Springfield has no one, but themselves to blame for the loss though, as they left 14 runners on base in the ballgame.
The series continues Sunday at 6:10 at Hammons Field in downtown Springfield, Mo.
Gary Campbell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .