For four innings Tuesday night, the Tulsa Drillers offense was non-existent, as Frisco's Victor Payano held them without a hit. That changed in the top of the fifth as the Drillers got not only their first hit but broke a scoreless tie with four runs. The big inning propelled the Drillers to an eventual 6-1 win over the RoughRiders in the opening game of a six-game road trip.
The win moved Tulsa to within two games of first-place Springfield in the second-half North Division standings. The Cards opened their six-game road trip with a 10-6 loss in Midland.
Payano was un-hittable for the Drillers early in Tuesday's contest, retiring the first 10 batters of the game. He pitched around a catcher's interference call and a walk in the fourth to keep his no-hitter intact.
Yadir Drake finally got the Drillers first hit when he opened the fifth with a lined single into centerfield. After the hit, Payano walked three of the next four hitters to force home the game's first run. Adam Law followed with a run-scoring hit that gave the Drillers a 2-0 lead and ended Payano's night.
Reliever Adam Parks came on and was greeted by a two-run double by Peter Lavin that extended Tulsa's lead to 4-0.
The Drillers increased the margin to five runs in the seventh. With one out, Law singled and pinch-runner Robbie Garvey stole second base. Lavin followed with a base hit that scored Garvey to make it 5-0.
It was more than enough offense for Tulsa starting pitcher Eric Stults, who began the year in the starting rotation for the Atlanta Braves. Stults blanked the Riders through the first six innings before surrendering his lone run in the seventh. The lefthander allowed six hits and the one run in 6.1 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out three while improved his Double-A record to 3-2.
Tulsa closed out the game's scoring in the top of the eighth when Brandon Trinkwon stole home on the back end of a double steal.
The steal capped a big night from Trinkwon who finished with two hits and two runs scored. Lavin also played a key role in the win with three hits and three runs batted in, while Law was 2-4 with one run batted in from the leadoff spot.
Tulsa and Frisco will play the second game of their three-game series Wednesday night. The pitching matchup will feature Jose De Leon (2-4, 4.01 ERA) for the Drillers while the Riders have not announced a starter. Starting time is scheduled for 7:05PM.