The Tulsa Drillers surrendered runs in only one inning in Sunday night's meeting with Springfield, but that one inning was enough to send the Cardinals to their second straight victory. The Redbirds sent 10 men to the plate in the top of the sixth and erupted for five runs to defeat the Drillers 5-3 at ONEOK Field.
Tulsa starting pitcher Dan Houston breezed through the first five innings, blanking the Redbirds on only two hits. The big inning began with consecutive singles from pitcher Richard Castillo and shortstop Greg Garcia. After Jake Shaffer grounded into a force out, centerfielder Oscar Taveras ended Houston's shutout with one swing of the bat. The 20-year-old centerfielder blasted an opposite-field home run that landed on the grass berm beyond the left-centerfield fence. The homer traveled approximately 400 feet and was the 15th of the season for Taveras, who is rated as the top position player prospect in the St. Louis minor league system.
Following the home run, Jamie Romak popped out, but Xavier Scruggs extended the inning with a double, and then scored on a base hit by Audry Perez. Two more singles by Jose Garcia and Adam Melker scored Perez to complete the five-run inning.
The Drillers and Houston had carried a 2-0 lead into the pivotal sixth inning after opening the scoring with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning. The rally began with one out when Josh Rutledge was hit by a pitch and Corey Dickerson singled into centerfield. After Nolan Arenado drew a walk to load the bases, Kiel Roling grounded a single into left field that plated both Rutledge and Dickerson to give the Drillers the lead.
Tulsa's third run scored in the seventh inning when Lars Davis doubled and scored on a base hit by Mike Mitchell.
Springfield starting pitcher Castillo picked up the victory to improve his record to 5-1. He surrendered the 3 runs on 6 hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Reliever Deryk Hooker retired all five batters he faced and Keith Butler pitched around a leadoff single by Angelys Nina in the ninth to collect his 15th save.
The loss for Houston dropped his record to 7-6.
Will Harris allowed only one hit and recorded four strikeouts in two scoreless relief innings, and Josh Sullivan pitched a perfect ninth inning.
The two teams will play the final game of their four-game series Monday afternoon at ONEOK Field. Tulsa will need a victory to avoid losing only its third series at ONEOK Field this season.
It will mark the final game before the Texas League begins its three-day All-Star break. Parker Frazier (3-7, 3.62 ERA) will pitch for the Drillers against Carlos Martinez (0-0, 3.00 ERA) of the Cardinals with starting time scheduled for 12:05PM.