SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–Devin Smeltzer got the start on the mound for the Tulsa Drillers, and pitched he one of the best games of the season against the Springfield Cardinals. The southpaw provided seven strong innings and led the way to a 5-3 Drillers victory.
The Drillers offense exploded with a big, two-out rally in the top of the third. D.J. Peters led the inning off by getting hit by a pitch. After a strikeout, and a sacrifice bunt advanced him to second, Errol Robinsonbrought Peters home with an RBI single. Luke Raley kept things going by crushing his 11th homer of the season to give Tulsa a 3-0 lead. After Connor Joe drew a walk, Will Smith smashed the second homer of the inning to extend the lead to 5-0.
Smeltzer allowed no damage in the first couple of innings, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the third.Stefan Trosclair led the inning off with a solo home run for the first Cardinal run of the night. After a single and an error, Lane Thomas doubled home a pair of runs in to cut the Springfield deficit to 5-3.
That would be all that Smeltzer would allow in his quality outing. Ariel Hernandez came out of the pen in the bottom of the eighth and got a strikeout, gave up a walk then got a double play ball to end the inning.
The Cardinals would cause some drama for Hernandez in the bottom of the ninth. After a single and a walk, a sacrifice bunt put the tying run in scoring position. Another walk put the winning run on base. But Hernandez held on and struck out the last two Cardinals, picking up his fourth save of the season and sealing the Drillers 5-3 victory.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*The seven strong innings by Smeltzer ties the longest outing by a Drillers starting pitcher this season. Justin De Fratus also pitched seven and picked up the win at ONEOK Field on June 3 against Corpus Christi.
*In the top of the third, Robinson swiped his team-leading 15th base of the season.
*Besides the two homers, Drew Jackson had the only other Drillers extra base hit with a double in the fourth inning.
*The victory allowed the Drillers to keep pace with the first place Arkansas Travelers who won earlier Sunday. Tulsa is three games back with eight to play in the first half.
The Drillers will have a quick turnaround as they will face the Cardinals on Monday morning. First pitch is scheduled for 11:05 a.m., and the probable starters are:
TUL Logan Bawcom (0-4 4.50 ERA)
SPR Mike O’Reilly (2-0, 2.20 ERA)