St. Louis Cardinals prospect Seth Maness has yet to complete a full season in professional baseball, but Monday afternoon in Springfield, he pitched like a veteran in his Double A debut against the Tulsa Drillers. Maness, an 11th round pick out of East Carolina University in last year's June Draft, allowed only five hits in seven shutout innings in leading the Cardinals to a 4-0 victory over Tulsa at Hammons Field.
The result continued a recent trend for the offensive-challenged Drillers. It was the second time in the past four games that they were held without a run by the Redbirds. They lost three of the four games in Springfield, scoring a total of seven runs and batting only .195 as a team.
Despite the loss, there was one positive with Monday's action. Northwest Arkansas was beaten by the Arkansas Travelers, allowing Tulsa to maintain its one-game lead atop the North Division standings of the Texas League.
The 23-year-old Maness was activated just prior to the game after going 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 7 starts with Class A Palm Beach this season. He walked only one Tulsa batter while striking out eight in his debut with Springfield. The eight strikeouts represented a professional high for the right-hander.
Tulsa starting pitcher Edwar Cabrera opened with three scoreless innings of his own before surrendering a run in the bottom of the fourth. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs, allowing Jake Shaffer to plate the only run the Cards would need with a lined single that dropped just in front of centerfielder Mike Mitchell. Cabrera escaped further damage by retiring the next three batters with a pair of shallow fly outs and a strikeout.
The lead remained at 1-0 until the Cardinals benefited from a call rarely seen in professional baseball. In the sixth, Kyle Conley drew a leadoff walk, and Shaffer followed with a ground ball to second baseman Josh Rutledge. Rutledge fielded and threw to shortstop Warren Schaeffer for an apparent force out, but Schaeffer was ruled to not be in contact with the second base bag, keeping Conley on the base paths. Xavier Scruggs then brought him home with a double before Maness helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly that made it 3-0.
The Cardinals added another run in the seventh when Conley hit a solo homer off reliever Mike Marbry.
No Tulsa player collected more than one hit in the loss, but Nolan Arenado was able to extend his hitting streak to 11 straight games with a fourth-inning single. It is the longest streak this season for a Drillers player.
Kiel Roling singled in the seventh to extend his streak to nine straight games.
The Drillers will be idle on Tuesday before beginning a six-game homestand at ONEOK Field Wednesday night. The stand will begin with a three-game series against the Frisco RoughRiders, who own the best record in the Texas League.
The pitching matchup in the opener will be Dan Houston (4-4, 3.49 ERA) for the Drillers against lefthander Tim Murphy (1-4, 5.67) of the Riders. First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:05PM in downtown Tulsa.
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