SPRINGFIELD, MO – For eight innings Thursday night in Springfield, the Tulsa Drillers seemed on their way to ending their season high five-game losing streak. But a disastrous ninth inning erased a two-run lead, before an error in the bottom of the tenth capped a walk-off rally for the Cardinals.
SPRINGFIELD, MO – For eight innings Thursday night in Springfield, the Tulsa Drillers seemed on their way to ending their season high five-game losing streak. But a disastrous ninth inning erased a two-run lead, before an error in the bottom of the tenth capped a walk-off rally for the Cardinals. The late meltdowns handed the Redbirds a 5-4 victory at Hammons Field and upped Tulsa’s losing streak to six straight games.
The late-game troubles overshadowed an outstanding performance from Tulsa’s starting pitcher River Ryan. Ryan was making his 24th appearance and 22nd start in Thursday’s outing, and he entered with a misleading 1-6 record. The right-hander had compiled a 3.51 ERA, allowing just 77 hits with 93 strikeouts in 92.1 innings this season.
Ryan was nearly unhittable against the Cardinals with a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth the only hit on his pitching line. He walked two batters and struck out five in his five scoreless frames.
The Drillers gave Ryan a lead in the second inning when Yusniel Diaz walked and scored on a double by Brandon Lewis.
They doubled the margin to 2-0 in the fifth when three straight singles from Ismael Alcantara, Austin Gauthier and Luis Diaz loaded the bases. Alcantara came home on a sacrifice fly from Jose Ramos.
Josh Stowers’ ninth home run of the season in the sixth increased the lead to 3-0.
Springfield ended the shutout in the bottom of the seventh against reliever Kevin Gowdy. Thomas Saggese led off with a double and eventually scored on a ground out from Mike Antico.
After the Drillers loaded the bases in the top of the eighth and did not score, the Cardinals did the same in the bottom half of the inning. With runners at first and second, shortstop Luis Diaz saved a run when he made a sliding stop of Saggese’s infield single. Reliever Ricky Vanasco escaped the jam when he got Pedro Pages to ground out.
That set the stage for the bottom of the ninth. With the 3-1 lead, the Drillers turned to Ryan Sublette to close out the victory. Sublette had walked 40 batters in 45.1 innings this season, and he continued to battle control problems. Sublette issued a leadoff walk, followed by a strikeout, a wild pitch and two more walks that loaded the bases.
Manager Juan Apodaca brought in Jake Pilarski to replace Sublette, and he uncorked another wild pitch that gave Springfield a run that cut the lead to 3-2. Pilarski walked the fourth batter of the inning before a sacrifice fly tied the game. Noah Mendlinger then lined out to send the game into extra innings.
A leadoff single in the top of the tenth from Imanol Vargas scored the placed runner and put the Drillers back in front 4-3, but this lead would also disappear.
After Saggese grounded out to open the bottom of the tenth, Pilarski walked his third batter. With runners at first and second, Antico lined a base hit into right field that would have tied the game, but when the ball got by Alcantara in right field, the error turned into a walk-off win for the Cardinals.
HIGHLIGHTS & HAPPENINGS
*Thursday’s success from Ryan against the Redbirds continued a season-long trend. In four games against Springfield, he has allowed just one earned run in 17.1 innings, compiling a 0.52 ERA.
*Yusniel Diaz finished 0-3, snapping his nine-game hitting streak. Despite the hitless night, Diaz has hit safely in 28 of his last 31 games.
*The Drillers lost despite out-hitting the Cardinals for the second straight night.
The Drillers will look to snap their losing streak when the two teams continue their series on Friday night at Hammons Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the starting pitchers are expected to be:
Tulsa – RHP Robbie Peto (1-0, 6.91 ERA)
Springfield – RHP Wilfredo Pereira (8-8, 5.13 ERA)