The Tulsa Drillers scored a run in each of the first five innings, and then held off a late rally attempt from Springfield to record their second straight win Wednesday night. The Drillers staked starting pitcher Dan Houston to a 5-1 lead after five innings, but the Cards rallied with four runs over the final four frames before a ninth-inning rally fell short. With the tying run at third, Josh Sullivan struck out Jamie Romak to close out a 6-5 win for Tulsa.
Sullivan's 12th save of the season allowed Houston to get his eighth win and even his record at 8-8. The right-hander worked the first six innings, surrendering three runs on five hits.
The Tulsa offense reached double figures in hits for the third straight game as five different players recorded two hits each with most of the damage coming in the first-half of the game.
The Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the top of the first inning, but the Drillers tied the game with their first run in the bottom of the inning. Corey Dickerson led off with a ground-rule double and scored on a two-out base hit by Ben Paulsen.
Three straight hits to open the second inning gave Tulsa the lead. Tim Torres started the inning with a double and moved to third on a base hit by catcher Lars Davis. Another single from Mike Mitchell, plated Torres to make it 2-1.
Tulsa's third-inning run came courtesy of Paulsen. The first baseman hit an opposite-field home run, his 10th of the year, onto the left-center field berm.
In the fourth, Mitchell led off with an infield hit and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Houston. Dickerson advanced him to third with a ground out, and Jimmy Cesario brought him home with Tulsa's fourth run of the night on a base hit.
The Drillers made it five straight innings with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Another solo homer, this time from Kent Matthes, put the Drillers in front 5-1. For Matthes, it was his 14th home run of the year and his second in as many nights.
The first-place Cardinals did not go away and scored in each of the next two innings to cut the lead to a single run. In the top of the sixth, Greg Garcia singled with one out off Houston and scored on a two-out homer by Adam Melker.
The Redbirds cut the Drillers lead to 5-4 with another run in the seventh. Kolten Wong greeted reliever Joe Torres with a double to center field, then scored on a one-out hit from Romak to make it a one-run game.
Dickerson got the run back with his fifth home run of the year in the bottom of the eighth. The solo homer just cleared the short fence in right field and gave the Drillers a vital two-run cushion because the Cards made things interesting in the ninth off Tulsa closer Josh Sullivan.
Sullivan retired Jose Garcia to open the inning, but Wong singled with one out. Second baseman Cesario took a hit away from Xavier Scruggs on a grounder up the middle, throwing the pinch-hitter out at first for out number two, with Wong advancing to second. Oscar Taveras made it a one-run game with a groundball double that deflected off the glove of Arenado behind the third base bag. A passed ball moved the game-tying run to third, but Sullivan made sure Taveras remained there by striking out Romak on a slider to end the game.
Six different players had a run batted i for Tulsa. Dickerson, Arenado, Paulsen, Matthes and Mitchell all collected two hits with Dickerson also scoring two runs.
The Drillers will conclude their homestand Thursday night with the series finale against the Cardinals. Tyler Chatwood (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second start for Tulsa, while highly-touted prospect Carlos Martinez (2-2, 2.30 ERA) will take the mound for Springfield. First pitch at ONEOK Field is scheduled for 7:05PM.