Home run powers Drillers past Hounds
Daniel Winkler worked four innings in his Double A debut Tuesday night. (Photo by: Jordan Nommay)
TULSA (KFAQ) - Three was the magic number for the Tulsa Drillers Tuesday night in the opening game of a six-game homestand at ONEOK Field. Tulsa hit three, three-run homers to defeat Midland 9-6.
The win was the Drillers 8th in their last 10 games, and it moved them into a three-way, second place tie in the North Division standings, three games behind first-place Arkansas.
The RockHounds jumped out on top in the game courtesy of Chad Oberacker. In the top of the first inning, Tulsa starting pitcher Daniel Winkler, who was making his Double A debut, opened the game by striking out D'Arby Myers, but Oberacker followed and hit the first pitch he saw into the Drillers bullpen in right-center field. It was his fifth home run of the year.
The Drillers responded against Midland starter Drew Granier in the bottom of the first. Tyler Kuhn drew a leadoff walk, and Cristhian Adames followed with a base hit. Kyle Parker struck out, but Kiel Roling opened the home run display for Tulsa when he belted his team-leading 23rd home run.
Dustin Garneau drew a walk after the home run, and Tom Murphy, in his first at-bat at the Double A level, singled with two out to extend the inning. Jayson Langfels then provided the second home run of the inning, a towering drive onto the grass berm in left-center field. It was Langfels' 10th homer of the season and gave Tulsa an early 6-1 lead.
Delta Cleary Jr. ended Granier's night when he followed the second homer with a lined single to centerfield. Nate Long relieved and issued a walk before retiring Adames on a ground ball to finally end the opening inning.
The RockHounds got two of the runs back when Winkler's defense let him down in the second inning. With two outs and runners at first and second, Myers appeared to hit an inning-ending fly ball to left-center field, but leftfielder Parker and centerfielder Cleary Jr. allowed the ball to drop. Parker was charged with an error on the misplay as two runs scored to make it 6-3.
Midland cut into the lead further in the third inning. Josh Whitaker led off with a base hit and moved to third on a double by Dusty Coleman. A sacrifice fly by Jefry Marte brought Whitaker home to pull the Hounds to within two runs.
The Hounds moved to within 6-5 in the fifth inning. Oberacker drew a walk from reliever Dan Houston and then scored on another double from Coleman.
The Drillers lead remained one run until Parker struck in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs and the bases empty, Kuhn and Adames produced consecutive singles, bringing Parker to the plate. The right fielder deposited a pitch from reliever Jeff Urlaub into the terrace section in left field for Tulsa's third three-run homer of the night. The blast was Parker's 21st of the year and gave Tulsa a 9-5 lead.
The three insurance prevented extra innings as Midland's Beau Taylor led off the ninth with a solo home run off Juan Gonzalez, cutting the Drillers' lead to three runs. Gonzalez retired the next three hitters to close out the win.
Winkler did not work the required five innings, giving the victory to Houston. The reliever pitched three innings and improved his record to 4-6.
Winkler, in his debut, allowed four hits, three walks and four runs in his four innings. The right-hander collected five strikeouts.
The Drillers offense totaled 12 hits in the game, led by Adames who had three. Parker, Roling and Langfels picked up two each.
Murphy finished 1-4 in his debut.
The two teams will continue their series night at ONEOK Field. Tim Gustafson (6-8, 4.28 ERA) will take the mound for the Drillers against Murphy Smith (6-5, 4.00 ERA) of the RockHounds. Starting time in downtown Tulsa is scheduled for .