Tulsa bats come to life in 6-5 win
Jayson Langfels get congratulations from manager Kevin Riggs for his second-inning homer. (Rich Crimi)
TULSA (KFAQ) - After scoring a total of only one run in two straight losses to Arkansas to open a seven-game homestand, Tulsa's offense came to lifenight at ONEOK Field. The Drillers pounded 12 hits and scored 6 times to defeat the Travelers 6-5 before another large crowd in downtown Tulsa.
The offensive production was spread throughout the lineup with eight of the Drillers starters getting at least one hit.
Attendance at ONEOK Field was 7,746, falling just short of the team's 14th sellout of the season.
Arkansas jumped on top early in the contest with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning off Drillers' starter Tim Gustafson. Tulsa nemesis Randal Grichuk drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a ground out and scored on a base hit by Cyle Hankerd. A two-out single by Robbie Widlansky plated Hankerd to up the Travs lead to 2-0.
The Drillers were set down in order in the bottom of the first by Michael Roth, who was pitching in the majors earlier this week with the Angels, but they erased the deficit with a three-run second. The inning began with a one-out walk to Dustin Garneau. Angelys Nina followed with his eighth home run of the season and first sinceto make it 2-2.
After Tim Smalling flied out for the second out of the inning, Jayson Langfels lined the first pitch he saw from Roth into the left field terrace section for his eighth homer of the year that put Tulsa in front 3-2.
The Drillers upped their lead to two runs with a two-out rally in the third. Kyle Parker singled and moved to second when Hankered misplayed the ball in right field. Kiel Roling followed with another hit that plated Parker and made it 4-2.
The Travelers evened the score with two runs of their own in the fourth. C.J. Cron led off with a double and scored on a one-out single from Kaleb Cowart. After Carlos Ramirez struck out, Ryan Jones doubled home Cowart to again tie the game.
The game remained tied until the Drillers went back in front with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Smalling drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Langfels and to third on a base hit by Delta Cleary Jr. Jaron Shepherd followed with a one-hopper back to the mound that reliever Matt Oye fielded and threw home to retire Smalling. Cristhian Adames produced a big, two-out hit with a sharp ground back up the middle that plated Cleary Jr. with the go-ahead run.
Kiel Roling added an important insurance run in the seventh when he led off with his 22nd homer of the season. The solo shot made it 6-4. On the next pitch, Garneau was hit by a pitch from Oye.
After Roling's homer, the Travelers cut the margin to a single run in the eighth. Cron led off with a base hit off Joe Gardner. After Widlansky grounded out, Gardner hit Cowart with a pitch that put the tying runs on base. After the hit by pitch, home plate umpire Brett Terry issued a warning to both benches, quickly bringing Tulsa manager Kevin Riggs out of the dugout. Following a brief argument, Cron scored on a ground out by Ramirez that trimmed Tulsa's lead to one run, but it would be as close as the Travelers would get.
Tulsa closer Cole White worked a 1-2-3 ninth with a pair of strikeouts to complete the victory and record his 12th save of the season.
Gustafson collected the victory to improve his record to 6-7, while Oye took the loss to drop his record to 6-8.
Tulsa and Arkansas will play the final game of their four-game series atnight at ONEOK Field. Christian Bergman (5-7, 3.36 ERA) will pitch the finale for the Drillers against Manny Correa (4-10, 5.23 ERA) of the Travelers.
NOTE: Prior to the game, it was announced that the Drillers had added left-handed relief pitcher Kenny Roberts from Modesto. The move fills Tulsa's roster at 25 active players. Roberts was 0-0 with 4 saves and a 1.30 ERA with the Nuts this season.