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Cardinals Edge Drillers In Walk-Off Fashion

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The Drillers lost their Tuesday night contest with the Springfield Cardinals by a final score of 9-8 Tuesday evening.

Tulsa was able to overcome an early four-run deficit led going into the seventh inning, but was unfortunately edged late by a walk-off sac fly.

Springfield seemingly ruined Jon Gray's start in the first inning. After Gray retired two of the first three batters he faced, the Cardinals strung together four consecutive run-scoring two-out hits, resulting in a 4-0 lead before the game even reached the second inning.

Gray displayed big league poise, however, as he settled and held Springfield scoreless and to only three hits over the next four innings. He finished the evening with four earned runs on seven hits and one walk in five innings of work while striking out three.

The Drillers got on the board in the fifth inning thanks to a Springfield error. After Jayson Langfels singled and moved to second on a sac bunt, Cardinals third baseman Matt Williams botched a ground ball off the bat of Jared Simon, allowing Langfels to score and Simon to reach first.

Tulsa's offense erupted in the top of the sixth inning for six runs, giving them their first lead of the game and putting Jon Gray in line for the win despite his troublesome opening frame.

For the second night in a row, the Drillers hit back-to-back home runs. This time, it was Delta Cleary Jr. and Tyler Massey to lead off the top of the sixth.

Still in the sixth, with the bases loaded, Chris O'Dowd smacked a ball back up the middle and scored Ryan Casteel and Trevor Story. Jared Simon would also drive home a run in the next at-bat, and O'Dowd would eventually score on the Cardinals' second error of the inning to cap off the six-run rally, which suddenly saw Tulsa up 7-4.

Springfield responded by scoring two to narrow the gap to one run in the home half of the sixth. After a walk and two hits loaded the bases for the Cards, reliever R.J. Seidel appeared to struggle with his control and issued a five-pitch walk to Jonathan Rodriguez, bringing home former Driller Rafael Ortega. With the bases still loaded, Charlie Tilson grounded into an RBI fielder's choice to score another Springfield run.

Three Cardinals hits and a throwing error from Story in the bottom of the seventh scored two more runs, completely erasing the Tulsa lead and putting Springfield up 8-7.

Simon's tenth home run of the year, a deep ball over dead center field in the top of the eighth, tied the game at eight.

Springfield would have the finals say in the game, however. After Breyvic Valera drew a one-out walk, Nelson Gonzalez attempted to pick him off at first. Gonzalez's throw to first sailed over Casteel's head and carried well into right field foul territory, allowing Valera to reach third.

In the next at-bat, Ortega hit a rather shallow fly ball to right field. Right fielder Simon caught the ball and immediately threw a bullet to home plate. His throw beat the tagging Valera, but home plate umpire Nate White ruled that Ortega slid under catcher O'Dowd's tag and scored to end the game.

Manager Kevin Riggs and a hand full of Tulsa players adamantly disagreed and extensively argued with home plate umpire Nate White following the conclusion of the game.

Jared Simon was the only Driller with multiple hits, as Tulsa was out-hit 13-7 despite the much closer score.

The Drillers and Cardinals will play the rubber match of the series Wednesday night in Springfield. Tyler Anderson (3-4, 2.40 ERA) will start for the Drillers and will face Springfield's Sam Gaviglio (4-10, 4.79 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.


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