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Drillers Use Big First Inning To Cruise To Win

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas -

It was the Casteel and Castillo show in Arkansas Friday night for the Tulsa Drillers. First baseman Ryan Casteel hit a pair of home runs, while pitcher Richard Castillo turned in one of his best outings of the season. The result was a much-needed 5-2 victory over the Travelers for the Drillers.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Tulsa and improved its second-half record to 16-19. The Drillers are now two games behind the first-place Travs in the North Division standings of the Texas League.

Castillo had a 4-0 lead before he took the mound for the first time as the Drillers offense put together a big first inning. Delta Cleary Jr. led off the game with a base hit, and Joey Wong drew a walk. Casteel then delivered the first of his home runs to give Tulsa a quick three-run lead.

The Drillers were not through however, as after the homer, Brian Humphries drew a walk, and Tyler Massey dropped a one-out single into centerfield that put runners at first and third. Tulsa then used a double steal to cap its big first inning, with Humphries credited for a rare steal of home.

Castillo maintained the 4-0 lead through the game's first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. With one out, Eric Stamets doubled and Maikol Gonzalez singled. With runners at the corners, Alex Yarbrough brought Stamets home with the Travelers first run on a sacrifice fly.

Casteel restored Tulsa's four-run lead in the eighth with his second home run of the game and his team-leading 14th of the season. The drive cleared the left-center field fence and gave Tulsa a 5-1 lead.

Castillo allowed the one run on only four hits and one walk in 5.2 innings of work. The victory was his first since May 30 and improved his record to 3-9.

The Tulsa bullpen insured Castillo got the victory. Ryan Arrowood allowed only one hit in 1.1 scoreless, relief innings. Nelson Gonzalez worked a 1-2-3 eighth before allowing a run in the ninth. With the tying run at the plate, he got a game-ending grounder from Drew Heid.

In addition to Casteel's two homer, four RBI night, Chris Swanner and Massey picked up two hits each for the Drillers.

After the four-run first inning, Arkansas starter Orangel Arenas threw six shutout innings, but he was charged with the loss that dropped his record to 5-7.

The two teams will continue their series Saturday night in North Little Rock. Carlos Hernandez (4-4, 2.66 ERA) will get the start for Tulsa, while Tulsa Union product Drew Rucinski (8-4, 2.78 ERA) will take the mound for Arkansas. Game three of the four-game set will begin at 7:10 p.m. 

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