The Tulsa Drillers opened their series against the Springfield Cardinals with an 11-0 win in arguably their best all-around game of the season Saturday night. The offense exploded for 11 runs on 17 hits, both tied for the most this in any game for Tulsa this season.
Concurrently, Drillers pitching was just as effective, shutting out Springfield and limiting them to only two hits.
However, a scary moment occurred in the fourth inning. Dan Winkler, who entered the game as the league leader in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts, keeled over in pain after throwing the fourth ball to Cardinals batter Jonathan Rodriguez. Winkler could not continue and had to exit the game with a sore right elbow. He is scheduled for a diagnostic MRI next week.
Catcher Dustin Garneau also exited the game early with hamstring tightness.
Despite the lopsided final score, the game actually remained deadlocked in a scoreless tie through the first five innings. Ryan Casteel popped up to lead off the inning, but Rodriguez misplayed the pop up putting Casteel at second with what was later ruled a double.
After Brian Humphries recorded an out, Garneau doubled to score Casteel, and Tyler Massey continued his hot streak with a triple to right field that scored Garneau. Massey then scored on a sac fly from Joey Wong.
In the seventh inning, Humphries, the Drillers' RBI leader, hit Tulsa's second triple of the game with the bases loaded, adding three runs to the scoreboard and to his team-RBI lead. Humphries then scored on a single from Harold Riggins in the ensuing at-bat.
The Drillers added four more runs in the eighth inning, three of which came off of Casteel's team-leading seventh home run.
Winkler pitched 3.2 shutout innings before exiting due to injury. He allowed only one base runner via a walk in the outing.
Every Drillers positional starter had at least one hit, and all but one of the positional starters had two hits. Casteel and Humphries led the team with three RBI each.
Ryan Arrowood picked up the win for Tulsa after coming into the game in relief of Winkler. He pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and two walks.
Kraig Sitton retired the side in the eighth. New addition Nate Striz, who began the season with Tulsa but was assigned to Modesto shortly after, pitched a perfect ninth to cap off the victory for the Drillers.
The win improved Tulsa's record on the roadtrip to 4-1 and put them 4.5 games ahead of second place Arkansas in the Texas League North standings, pending results of later games Saturday night. The Drillers have also won seven of their last eight games.
The two teams will continue their four-game series Sunday night. The Drillers will start Tyler Anderson (3-2, 2.93 ERA), while the Cardinals will send Marco Gonzales to the mound (1-1, 2.86 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m.