The Tulsa Drillers put together one of their best overall performances in the month of August Friday night to snap a season high five-game losing streak. Starting pitcher Chase De Jong worked six shutout innings and received offensive support through big early hits from Joey Curletta and Edwin Rios to help the Drillers to a 7-0 win over the Frisco RoughRiders at ONEOK Field.
It is the third time this season that Tulsa has won to avoid a six-game losing streak.
De Jong allowed only six base runners on five hits and a walk. He recorded six strikeouts while picking up his Texas League leading 12th win and lowering his league-leading ERA to 2.69. His season strikeout total increased to 112, only five behind the league leader, moving De Jong into a position to make a run at the Texas League pitching Triple Crown.
Curletta staked De Jong and the Drillers to an early lead in the Friday's contest. With two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the second, Jacob Scavuzzo dropped a hit into right field and Rios followed with a double to put runners at second and third for Curletta. After taking a called strike, the right fielder smashed the next delivery from Frisco starter Ariel Jurado high over the left-center field fence. Curletta's third Double-A homer cleared the grass berm and landed at the base of the scoreboard, giving the Drillers a 3-0 lead.
Tulsa used another two-out rally in the third to pad the margin. Willie Calhoun doubled into the right field corner and scored on a base hit by Kyle Farmer.
The Drillers used another homer in the fourth to make it 5-0 as Rios led off with his fourth Double-A blast. Overall, it was the 27th homer for Rios at three different levels this season, tied for fifth-most in Minor League Baseball.
The lead swelled to 7-0 in the sixth. With the bases loaded, Calhoun lined a base hit off the glove of second baseman Andy Ibanez to score two more runs.
Three Tulsa relievers combined to complete the shutout victory. Scott Griggs, Jeff Malm and Joe Broussard each worked one clean inning in back of De Jong.
The offensive output broke a hitting slump for the Drillers who entered the game with a .162 team batting average with only 16 hits through the first three games of the current homestand. They nearly equaled that total with 13 hits against the RoughRiders, as eight of Tulsa's nine starters had at least one hit in the victory. Calhoun and Rios led the attack with three hits each.
The two teams will continue their series Saturday night. On the mound, Isaac Anderson will make his ONEOK Field debut for the Drillers, while the RoughRiders will counter with veteran Scott Carroll (0-0, 2.70 ERA). Carroll has spent most of the past two seasons in the majors and a portion of this year, making a total 47 appearances and 19 starts with the Chicago White Sox. Starting time on Saturday is scheduled for 7:05PM.