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Springfield Bests Tulsa In Pitching Dual

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Sunday afternoon's game at ONEOK Field featured a marquee pitching matchup between Tulsa's Roy Oswalt and Springfield's Seth Blair.

Neither hurler disappointed, but in the end, it was Blair who finished on top, working seven shutout innings as the Cardinals defeated the Drillers 5-0 in Tulsa.

Oswalt, a veteran of 163 major league wins, pitched well in what was likely his final appearance in Tulsa. The right-hander, who is hoping to join the Colorado Rockies starting rotation soon, surrendered only one earned run on five hits, striking out four and walking two, to lower his Texas League ERA to 2.88. But he was outdueled by the Cards' young pitching prospect on the day.

Blair, who is listed as the #10 overall prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization according to MLB.com, pitched very well on Sunday. The 2010 first round pick held the Drillers scoreless through seven strong innings, allowing three hits, while striking out seven and walking two.

Xavier Scruggs put the Cards in front with a home run in the second inning. The towering drive was the 16th of the year for Scruggs and cleared the terrace section beyond the left field fence.

The Redbirds took advantage of a defensive miscue from Oswalt to add to their lead in the fifth. With runners at first and second with one out, Blair laid down a bunt. Oswalt fielded and threw toward third base, but the ball sailed into left field, allowing one run to score. With runners on second and third, Mike O'Neill followed with a groundball to third baseman Jayson Langfels, but his throw home was high, allowing another run to score, giving Springfield a 3-0 lead.

After replacing Oswalt in the top of the eighth, Tulsa reliever Josh Mueller got two quick outs before running into trouble. After giving up a two-out single to Ruben Gotay, Mueller was called for a balk which allowed Gotay to advance into scoring position. Chris Swauger followed by lining an RBI single into center field to extend the Redbirds' advantage to four.

The Cardinals wrapped up the scoring in the ninth when Audry Perez connected for a solo home run with one out in the ninth to bring the final score to 5-0. It was the catcher's third hit of the game.

Oswalt seemed to be pleased with his performance after the game, saying, "Overall, it went well. I felt strong later in the game." He went on to state that his "arm strength is high" and that his "secondary pitches felt great" on Sunday.

The 35-year old Oswalt said that he expects to hear from the Rockies tonight or tomorrow concerning when and where his next start will take place.

The two teams will resume their series Monday afternoon at ONEOK Field. Tyler Matzek (2-5, 4.37 ERA) will take the mound for the Drillers against Nick Greenwood (1-3, 5.24 ERA) of the Cardinals. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.

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