Game time temperature Monday afternoon at ONEOK Field for the series finale between Tulsa and Springfield was officially 95 degrees, but it crept into triple digits before the contest was completed. The Cardinals bats opened the game as hot as the weather, taking a four-run lead only 10 pitches into the game. The early onslaught sent the Drillers to a 5-1 defeat in the final game before the three-day Texas League All-Star break begins Tuesday.
The loss was the third straight for the Drillers and leaves them with a 2-4 second-half record heading into the break.
Kolten Wong got the big first inning started by leading off with a base hit against Tulsa starter Parker Frazier. After Jermaine Curtis followed with another single, Chris Swauger opened the scoring with a double to left field that drove in Wong. Cleanup hitter Jamie Romak quickly upped the lead to 4-0 when he hit the first pitch from Frazier to the top of the Budweiser Terrace beyond the left field fence. The homer capped four straight hits form the Redbirds.
Frazier was able to retire the side without further damage after allowing the home run and cruised through the next 4 innings without a Cardinals threat.
Tulsa got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Jose Gonzalez reached second base thanks to a misplay of his single by Romak in right field. Warren Schaeffer advanced Gonzalez to third base on a groundout to short, and pinch-hitter Angelys Nina drove him in with a single. For Nina it was his 3rd hit in his last 4 games as a pinch hitter.
The run was the only blemish of the day for Springfield starter and highly touted prospect Carlos Martinez. He left the game after 5 innings with a pitching line of 4 hits allowed, 1 earned run, no walks and 5 strikeouts. At times the right-hander looked dominant against the Tulsa lineup while hitting up to 98 mph on the stadium radar gun.
Springfield added to their lead in the top of the seventh off reliever Joey Williamson. Control was an issue for Williamson as he walked three Cards hitters and hit another with a pitch in the inning. His third walk came with the bases loaded and increased Springfield's lead to 5-1.
Tulsa was unable to cut into its deficit thanks to solid work out of the bullpen by Kevin Thomas and Michael Blazek. The pair combined to blank the Drillers over the final four innings, allowing only one hit while recording a combined six strikeouts.
The next action for 14 of the players from these two teams will come on Thursday when Tulsa hosts the 76th annual U.S. Cellular Texas League All-Star Game. Regular season Texas League action will resume on Friday, June 29. Tulsa will travel to San Antonio to take on the Missions when the break concludes. It will be the opening of a six-game trip that will include three games against the Mission and three games against the Corpus Christi Hooks.