The Tulsa Drillers season came to a disappointing end Sunday afternoon in Springfield, Missouri. In the decisive fifth game of the Texas League's North Division Playoff Series, the Drillers matched a season low with only two hits and were beaten 3-1 by the Springfield Cardinals. The victory sends the Cardinals onto the Texas League Championship Series where they will face the Frisco RoughRiders.
Tulsa's only hit through the game's first eight innings was a double by Corey Dickerson that accounted for its only run.
Boone Whiting was the starting and winning pitcher for the Cardinals. The 23-year-old was outstanding in only his third game at the Double A level. In his one hit, seven-inning outing, he walked two batters and struck out four. Because of injuries, Whiting did not pitch in a game this season until July 24.
Tulsa starting pitcher Dan Houston set the Cardinals down in order in the bottom of the first but ran into trouble in the second. The inning began with consecutive doubles from Jamie Romak and Chris Swauger that put Springfield in front. A groundout and a sacrifice fly from Xavier Scruggs scored Swauger to give the Cards a 2-0 lead.
The Drillers responded with their only run in the top of the third. Chris Pettit drew a leadoff walk, but he was replaced on the base paths when Tim Torres grounded into a fielder's choice. Houston moved Torres to second with a sacrifice bunt, and Dickerson followed with his RBI double just inside the first base bag.
The Redbirds got the run back in the fourth as Swauger led off with a double and moved to third on a base hit by shortstop Greg Garcia. Scruggs produced his second sacrifice fly of the game to score Swauger and restore Springfield's original two-run lead.
Swauger's day would end two innings later on an outstanding defensive play. In the top of the sixth, he made a tumbling catch of a liner off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki to end the inning. He was slow to get back on his feet before leaving the field.
Swauger was removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth and later returned to the Springfield dugout with his right arm in a sling. There was no word on the severity of his injury.
Whiting issued a one-out walk to Ben Paulsen in the fourth before setting down the final 11 batters he faced in order.
Reliever Eric Fornataro retired the Drillers in order in the eighth with two strikeouts, before Cards closer Keith Butler came on for the ninth. Butler set down Dickerson and Arenado to run consecutive outs to 16. Tulowitzki ended the streak by grounding a two-out single into centerfield that extended the game.
Kiel Roling was summoned to pinch-hit for Paulsen and he hit a sharp liner, but it was right at Oscar Taveras. The center fielder made the catch to end the game and Tulsa's season.
P.O. Box 8 Tulsa, OK 74101-0008