SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Five runs down was one too many Tuesday night for the Cardinals.
The Drillers tallied seven runs in the first four innings off Springfield starter Mike O’Reilly, barely holding on after the Cardinals rallied for four runs over the final four innings in a 7-6 loss in front of 4,126 fans at Hammons Field.
The loss dropped Springfield back to 6.5 games behind Tulsa in the division.
Trailing 7-2 in the sixth, a one-out single by Andrew Knizner eventually turned into a run when Victor Roache singled into right.
The Cardinals continued to chip away at the deficit an inning later. A two-out Randy Arozarena single and a steal was followed by an Andy Young single and a 7-4 ballgame.
Still trailing by three in the eighth, the Cardinals continued to take advantage of Tulsa reliever Yadier Alvarez. Three straight singles from Knizner, Evan Mendoza and Victor Roache got things going, but a strikeout by Johan Mieses and pop out from Chris Chinea had the Drillers an out away from escaping.
With two outs, Tommy Edman delivered a double to right that scored Knizner and Mendoza and brought the Cardinals within 7-6. Springfield had a shot at the lead with runners on second and third and Arozarena at the plate, but Michael Johnson got him swinging on a 2-2 pitch.
Springfield looked set to push the tying run across in the ninth after Young’s leadoff single, but a double play ended the momentum.
Ramon Santos, Austin Sexton, Junior Fernandez and Seth Elledge combined for five scoreless relief innings for the Cardinals, allowing just four baserunners and striking out nine. All four baserunners came off Santos.
O’Reilly (3-6) allowed seven runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings, striking out three.
The Cardinals close out their seven-game homestand and three-game series with Tulsa on Wednesday with first pitch set for 6:30pm. Gates open at 5:30pm Wednesday.
Purina Woof Wednesday returns tomorrow. All baseball-loving puppers are invited to sit back, relax and watch the game they love with their best friend for every Wednesday home game the rest of the season. One owner ticket=free entry for your Very Good Boy/Girl!