The largest crowd to ever watch a Drillers game at ONEOK Field turned out Friday night hoping to see a Tulsa victory and a post-game fireworks show. What they saw instead was a masterful performance from Springfield starting pitcher Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal allowed one run and three hits in seven impressive innings to lead the Cardinals to a 5-1 victory over the Drillers.
The paid crowd of 8,707 topped the previous record attendance that was set on July 4 of last season. It was the 7th sellout in 31 home games this season for the Drillers.
Rosenthal is rated by most experts as one of the top pitching prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system, and looked the part in Saturday's outing. The right-hander issued only one walk and recorded seven strikeouts in evening his record at 5-5 and lowering his ERA to 2.73.
In four starts versus Tulsa this season, the 22-year-old Rosenthal has allowed only 13 hits and 4 runs in 25 1/3 innings. He has a 1.42 ERA and 21 strikeouts.
The Drillers lone run in came in the third inning and opened the game's scoring. Mike Mitchell led off with a hit and scored on a two-out double from Angelys Nina.
After allowing only one base runner through the first three innings, Tulsa starter Joe Gardner ran into trouble in the top of the fourth. The Redbirds tied the score when they opened the inning with three straight singles from Jermaine Curtis, Oscar Taveras and Chris Swauger. Gardner got a ground out from Jake Shaffer, but Greg Garcia put Springfield in front with a run-scoring single. A sacrifice fly from Adam Melker made it 3-1, before the Cards added an additional run when Juan Crousset drifted to the left field warning track and dropped what looked to be an inning-ending fly ball.
Garcia upped the score to 5-1 with his fourth home run of the season in the seventh.
Rosenthal allowed a two-out single to Gardner in the fifth before retiring the Drillers in order in the sixth and seventh innings. Michael Blazek worked two perfect relief innings to complete the game as Tulsa was held without a base runner over the final four frames.
The Drillers will look to salvage a split of their four-game series with Springfield Saturday night. In the finale, Dan Houston (6-4, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Drillers against Richard Castillo (3-0, 1.37 ERA) of the Cardinals. The game is scheduled for a 7:05PM start at ONEOK Field.