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Anderson Leads Drillers Past Northwest Arkansas

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Tyler Anderson's luck finally changed Thursday night.  Anderson extended his scoreless innings streak to 23 innings with another superb outing, and his teammates provided him with some rare offensive support.  The result was a 6-0 victory for Anderson and the Tulsa Drillers over Northwest Arkansas Thursday night at ONEOK Field.  The win was the first for the lefthander since May 4, despite his impressive form.

Anderson, who seems to get better with each start, was at his best in Thursday's outing.  He held the Naturals without a hit through the first four innings before allowing a two-out single to Justin Trapp in the fifth. 

In six scoreless innings, he allowed only three hits and two walks while registering eight strikeouts, matching a season high. 

The Tulsa hurler has not allowed a run in his last four starts and has surrendered only 14 hits in his 23 scoreless innings.  Anderson also lowered his Texas League leading ERA to 2.10.

Despite the impressive numbers, the win was only his fourth of the season and evened his record at 4-4.  

Offensively, the Drillers totaled 11 hits through the game's first 4 innings, and opened the scoring with a two-out rally in the bottom of the second.  With the bases empty, Tyler Massey singled off Naturals' starter J.C. Sulbaran.  After stealing second base, Massey came home on a base hit by Will Swanner that gave Anderson an early lead.

Tulsa padded the margin with another two-out rally in the third.  Again with the bases empty, Ryan Casteel lined a double into the gap in right-center field.  Brian Humphries brought him home with a lined single into right field.  Jayson Langfels made it three straight hits with a triple that scored Humphries to make it 3-0.

The early offensive output from the Drillers continued in the fourth as three more runs doubled the lead.  Swanner led off with a towering drive onto the berm in left-center field for his first home run at the Double-A level. 

Jared Simon followed and made it back-to-back homers with a blast that cleared the Budweiser Terrace in left field.  It was the outfielder's 11th homer of the season.

After the consecutive home runs, Chris O'Dowd lined the next offering into centerfield for a third straight hit.  On the very next pitch, Sulbaran plunked Trevor Story in the back and was promptly ejected by home plate umpire Ramon Hernandez.  The hit by pitch resulted in the umpiring crew issuing a warning to both benches.

The Naturals ended Tulsa's shutout bid in the eighth inning.  Ethan Chapman led off by grounding a double into right field off reliever Nate Striz.  Angel Franco walked before Striz retired Orlando Calixte on strikes.  Cheslor Cuthbert followed with his 10th home run to cut Tulsa's lead in half at 6-3. 

In the ninth, Northwest Arkansas got the potential game-tying run to the plate off Ken Roberts with two outs, but Franco grounded out to end the game.  For Roberts, it was his second save of the season.

The Drillers and Naturals will be back in action Friday night at ONEOK Field.  The pitching matchup will feature Richard Castillo (3-9, 5.01 ERA) for Tulsa against Christian Binford (3-1, 2.15 ERA) for Northwest Arkansas.  Binford is one of the top pitching prospects in the Kansas City farm system and recently pitched in the Futures Game at Minnesota's Target Field.

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