The Tulsa Drillers and Springfield Cardinals opened a three-game series Monday night at Hammons Field, and it turned into a home run barrage. The Drillers used three homers to jump to a five-run lead after 4 ½ innings, but the Cardinals matched Tulsa's home run total to stage a comeback. The third and final homer from the Redbirds was a controversial one, but it gave the Cardinals a 7-6 comeback victory.
The offensive fireworks started early as Peter Lavin got the Drillers off to a quick start. Lavin hit a solo home run, his eighth of the year, in the top of the first inning to give Tulsa a 1-0 lead.
Springfield's David Washington matched Lavin with his 11th homer in the bottom of the second to tie the game, but the Drillers used another long ball to retake the lead in the third inning. With one out, Lavin drew a walk and Lars Anderson followed with his 11th homer to put Tulsa in front 3-1.
The home run display continued in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Brandon Trinkwon singled and pitcher Chris Anderson drew a walk. Ronald Torreyes cleared the bases with his fourth Double-A homer to give the Drillers a 6-1 lead.
The Cardinals comeback began in the bottom of the fifth. They loaded the bases with one out, and Anthony Garcia cleared them. His three-run double cut the Tulsa lead to 6-4. The three runs were the only ones of the game that did not come via a homer.
Washington struck again in the sixth to pull Springfield to within one run. His second homer of the night made it 6-5.
A final home run would decide the outcome. In the bottom of the eighth, Jonathan Rodriguez drew a leadoff walk from Tulsa reliever Juan Jaime. Ramon Benjamin came on for Jaime and struck out Bruce Caldwell, bringing Aledmys Diaz to the plate. Diaz hit a drive down the left field line that cleared the left field fence near the foul pole. The ball was ruled fair by home plate umpire Sean Allen, giving Diaz his seventh homer of the season and the Cardinals a 7-6 lead.
The call brought a quick reaction from Tulsa manager Razor Shines. He came out to argue that the homer was a foul ball, but he lost the argument before eventually being ejected by Allen.
The Drillers staged a comeback attempt in the top of the ninth, loading the bases with two outs. The hopes ended when Yadir Drake grounded into a force out to end the game.
The two teams will be back in action Tuesday night in Springfield. The Drillers have not announced a starting pitcher for the contest, but Springfield will send Alex Reyes (0-0, 2.16 ERA) to the mound. Reyes is one of the top pitching prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system. Starting time is scheduled for 7:10PM at Hammons Field.