|Updated: 5/15 3:41 pm
||Published: 5/15 3:38 pm
For the second time in less than 24 hours, the Springfield Cardinals used the home run ball Wednesday morning to again defeat the Tulsa Drillers. Adam Melker helped erase an early Tulsa lead with a pair of home runs, and the Cardinals survived a rain shower and a late Drillers rally to post a 5-3 victory before 6,746 mostly young fans at ONEOK Field.
The loss was the sixth straight for Tulsa.
The Drillers took an initial lead in the contest with a run in the bottom of the first-inning. Delta Cleary Jr. drew a leadoff walk and scored on a one-out base hit from Kiel Roling.
Melker would promptly erase the lead with his first home run in the top of the second. The right fielder's solo drive onto the right field berm evened the score at 1-1.
Melker struck again in the fourth inning to put the Cardinals on top. Jake Lemmerman worked a leadoff walk from Dan Houston, and Melker followed with his second homer of the game and his fourth of the season to put Springfield in front 3-1.
Castillo helped his on cause with a run-scoring single in the sixth that plated Melker to increase the lead to 4-1.
The run proved valuable as the Drillers made things interesting with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth. Jayson Langfels greeted reliever Nick Greenwood with a leadoff double into the right field corner, and Kent Matthes made it two straight hits when his sharp grounder caromed off the glove of third baseman Ruben Gotay.
With runners at the corners, Rafael Ortega brought Langfels home when he grounded out to first. One out later, Joey Wong moved the Drillers to within one run with a base hit that scored Matthes.
Keith Butler replaced Greenwood on the mound and kept the Cardinals in front when he struck out Roling to end the inning.
With rain falling in downtown Tulsa, the Cards added an insurance run in the top of the ninth off reliever Juan Gonzalez to make it 5-3.
In the bottom of the ninth, as the rain increased in intensity, the Drillers got the potential game-winning run to the plate, but Butler got a double play grounder to end the game.
Castillo, who pitched for Spain in the World Baseball Classic this spring, allowed only four hits and one run in seven strong innings to get the win for Springfield. The victory evened his record at 3-3.
Houston, who was looking for his first win of the season, suffered the loss to fall to 0-4. He worked five-plus innings and surrendered nine hits and four runs.
Melker led a 12-hit attack for Springfield, finishing 3-4 with 2 homers and 3 runs batted in. Leftfielder Mike O'Neill also added three hits.
Wong and Nina finished with two hits each for Tulsa.
The Drillers and Cardinals will wrap up their four-game series Thursday night at 7:05 pm. Former major league hurler Sean Gallagher is expected to be the starting pitcher for the Drillers. Gallagher, who has been pitching in the independent Atlantic League, spent parts of four seasons in the major leagues with the Cubs, A's, Padres and Giants.
The Redbirds will send Scott McGregor (4-1, 2.63 ERA) to the mound. McGregor is 2-0 in four career starts against the Drillers.