With a storm system bearing down on Tulsa from the west, the Drillers and Missions wasted little time completing Monday night's contest. The game was not without drama however, as both teams came from behind to take a lead. But it was the Drillers who had the final say as they secured a 3-2 victory with two runs in the bottom of the seventh to claim the series win.
The official game time of two hours and twelve minutes was the shortest nine inning ballgame at ONEOK Field this season, tying the mark for the fastest game the Drillers have played in this year.
Both starting pitchers turned in solid outings before the bullpens took over. Jeremy Kehrt went 5.2 innings for Tulsa, allowing just two runs while former first-rounder Casey Kelly tossed five innings of one-run ball for San Antonio.
After sparking the Tulsa offense Sunday, Ronald Torreyes and Brandon Trinkwon were back at it in the first inning on Monday. Torreyes led the game off with a leadoff single and Trinkwon moved him up with a base on balls. San Antonio starter Casey Kelly then threw the ball into center field on a pickoff attempt to move both runners up a base. Brian Burgamy walked to load the bases before Lars Anderson plated Torreyes with a sacrifice fly to left to give the Drillers the 1-0 lead.
Kelly and Kehrt shut down the offense from there as neither pitcher allowed a hit through the next four innings. Kehrt in fact did not surrender his first hit until there were two outs in the top of the fifth. But the dynamics shifted in the next inning as the Missions took the lead.
Pitching in his first game since the All-Star break, Kehrt began the top of the sixth with a strikeout of Diego Goris. But San Antonio followed with three straight base hits to knot the game up. Kehrt recovered to get Yeison Asencio to ground out for the second out of the inning, and it looked as though he would escape with the game tied. But Duanel Jones had other ideas, lining a base hit into left to give the Missions the 2-1 advantage. Jacob Rhame came in from the pen at that point and got the final out of the inning to keep the Drillers within a run. That would prove to be pivotal.
Facing San Antonio reliever Stephen Kohlscheen in the bottom of the seventh, the Drillers offense went to work. After Shawn Zarraga was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double to start the inning, Jarek Cunningham lined a single of his own to left. Peter Lavin promptly tied the ballgame up as he smacked a triple into the left-center field gap before coming home himself on an RBI single by Jeremy Rathjen to give Tulsa the lead once again 3-2.
The Missions would give it a comeback try in the eighth and ninth innings and came up just short both times.
In the eighth, the Drillers escaped on a close play at the plate when Rathjen threw out Taylor Lindsey at home after corralling a fly ball in right for an inning-ending double play.
Jones gave the Drillers a scare yet again in the ninth as he got on base with a one-out single off closer Jeremy Horst who was pitching for the second straight night. He moved all the way to third on the very next pitch as Ali Solis, who had just come into the game as a defensive replacement, threw the ball into center field when Jones attempted to steal second. With one out, Tulsa then brought the infield in. The move paid off as Adolfo Reina grounded out to second, forcing Jones to stay lodged at third. Horst then induced a fly ball off the bat of Luis Domoromo to secure the narrow victory with his ninth save of the year.
With the win, Tulsa ran its record to 9-6 at home in one-run ballgames and 15-15 overall in such close contests.
The Drillers will aim for a sweep Tuesday night as they send Ross Stripling (1-2, 5.54 ERA) to the hill. San Antonio will counter with James Needy who will be making his first appearance with the club since being sent down from El Paso. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:05PM.