Tulsa, OK – The Springfield Cardinals wrapped up the 2017 Regular Season with an 8-7 win against the Tulsa Drillers before 3,822 fans at ONEOK Field on Monday afternoon.
With the win, the Cardinals match their all-time records with 77 wins overall this season and 42 wins in the Second Half, tying the all-time team marks that were set in 2012.
The Drillers (44-26, 77-63) seized the advantage in the bottom of the second against RHP Dailyn Martinez, making his first start in Double-A. LF Blake Gailen opened the inning with a double, before stealing third base. After a walk from 1B Peter O’Brien, an RBI single by 2B Drew Jackson brought in Gailen for the game’s first run. One out later, C Garrett Kennedy followed suit with an RBI single of his own, doubling the Drillers lead to 2-0.
The Cardinals (42-28, 77-63) responded right away with a pair of runs in the top of the third against RHP Andrew Sopko (L, 5-7). C Andrew Knizner began the inning by reaching on an error by 3B Matt Beaty. SS Tommy Edman then reached on a single, followed by a base hit from RHP Dailyn Martinez. With the bases loaded and no outs, RF Magneuris Sierra lined a game-tying two-run single to left-center, squaring the score at 2-2.
Springfield then swung in front in the top of the fourth inning. Leading off, 2B Eliezer Alvarez powered a solo home run over the left field fence, his fourth long-ball of the year. 1B John Nogowski then singled himself on, before racing all the way home from first on an RBI double by C Andrew Knizner. Sierra then brought in Knizner with a drive to right-center that was ruled an RBI fielder’s choice when Martinez was retired after failing to step on second base. Sierra’s third RBI of the game made it a 5-2 Springfield advantage.
The Cardinals padded the lead with a solo home run from CF Oscar Mercado in the seventh, his 13th blast of the season. After RHP Tyler Bray (W, 8-0) closed his fourth scoreless inning of relief work in the bottom of the eighth, Springfield added two final insurance runs in the top of the ninth with RBI singles by Edman and pinch-hitting INF Andy Young to make it 8-2.
The Drillers refused to go down quietly, rallying with five runs in the bottom of the ninth against RHP Landon Beck. CF Johan Mieses opened the frame with a solo blast, before Beck dug in with back-to-back outs. A two-out miscue charged to 3B Jacob Wilson allowed SS Errol Robinson to reach and the game to continue, which was then compounded by consecutive singles from RF Yusniel Diaz and 3B Tim Shibuya to load the bases. Gailen then dealt one more blow, driving a two-out grand slam over the left field wall to bring the Drillers within one run of tying the game. Beck, however, induced a game-ending fly out to left from O’Brien and the Cardinals hung on for the 8-7 win to close the 2017 Regular Season.