In a game Tuesday that featured an early exit from Julio Urias, 2 wild pitches, a balk, an ejection, and a combined 5 home runs, it was the Drillers who found a way to win. Thanks to the combined efforts from their bullpen, along with a walk-off home run in extra innings from first baseman Lars Anderson, the Drillers ended their homestand on a high note as they downed the Cardinals 6-5 at ONEOK Field.
It had been a tough homestand for Tulsa going into Tuesday's ballgame. After losing four of the six games in the last week by just one run in each contest, the Drillers were looking for something positive to finish off their series against the Springfield Cardinals.
After going 0-3 heading into his at-bat in the 10th, Anderson launched a no-doubt solo blast over the right field fence to bring his teammates streaming out of the dugout to mob him at home plate. The bomb was Anderson's 3rd of the year.
Tulsa starter Urias suffered through his toughest outing of the season. His problems began in the very first inning when the game's first three batters reached base safely on a single, an error on Urias and a walk. The lefthander looked as if he would escape the bases loaded, no outs jam when he retired the next two batters on a strikeout and a pop up, but he walked the next batter on four pitches to force home a run.
Urias struck out the side in the second inning and picked up two more Ks in a scoreless third before running into trouble again in the top of the fourth. Anthony Garcia led off with this third home run of the year. After a walk to Aledmys Diaz, Alex Mejia belted his first homer of the year to make it 4-0. Following a walk and a fielder's choice grounder, Urias' day was over.
Urias threw 85 pitches, 51 for strikes, in 3.1 innings. He allowed four hits and issued four walks while striking out seven. Going into Tuesday's start, Urias had only walked five batters all year.
Matt Shelton, making his first appearance since returning from Triple-A, took over for Urias and was outstanding in 2.2 relief innings. The only runner to reach base safely against Shelton did so on an error.
The Drillers, who have struggled to score runs recently, got back into the game with four runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth. The first three runs came on a three-run homer from Daniel Mayora, his second homer of the season.
Luis Mateo followed with a base hit just inside the bag at third. Leftfielder Garcia bobbled the hit, allowing Mateo to advance to second, sliding in safely, just ahead of the throw. Springfield Manager Dann Bilardello quickly came out to argue the call. Cards' catcher Mike Ohlman eventually left the home plate area to join the discussion and was ejected from the game by base umpire Mike Cascioppo.
The Cardinals frustrations increased when Mateo advanced to third on a passed ball and then came home with the tying run when pitcher Mike Mayers committed a balk.
Mateo single handedly put the Drillers in front in the sixth. The former Redbirds' infielder singled, stole second and advanced to third when catcher Alberto Rosario's throw skipped into centerfield. When Mayers uncorked a wild pitch, Mateo raced home with another run to give the Drillers a 5-4 lead.
The Redbirds tied the game again on the strength of a Jonathan Rodriguez homer. The first baseman led off the eighth with his third home run of the year to even the score at 5-5.
The score would remain tied going into the 10th before Anderson hit his walk-off blast to send the Cardinals packing.
Wednesday is a scheduled off day for the Drillers. They will begin a four-game series Thursday night in Little Rock against Arkansas. The pitching matchup for the opener will be Deck McGuire (4-1, 3.30 ERA) for the Drillers versus Albert Suarez (2-3, 2.83 ERA) of the Travelers. First pitch at Dickey-Stephens Stadium is slated for 7:10PM.