The Tulsa Drillers snapped their longest losing streak of the season Friday night in Northwest Arkansas. The Drillers came from behind to defeat the Naturals 10-6 and end their four-game skid. The victory was Tulsa's first in the second-half of the season and improved its record to 1-3.
Early in the game it looked as if no comeback would be needed from the Drillers as they took a quick lead in the game by scoring twice in the top of the first inning. With two outs and the bases empty, Cristhian Adames walked in front of Ryan Casteel's ninth home run of the season.
The Naturals scored two runs of their own in the second inning. Cheslor Cuthbert led off with his eighth homer to make it 2-1. Later in the second, Micah Gibbs drew a walk from Tulsa starter Jon Gray and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Angel Franco.
Tulsa went back in front in the third when Joey Wong singled and scored on a base hit by Adames.
Northwest Arkansas again erased the lead with three runs in the bottom half of the third. The rally began when Orlando Calixte singled and Jorge Bonifacio drew a walk from Gray. Cuthbert plated Calixte with a double to centerfield that tied the game. Hunter Dozier then singled home both Bonifacio and Cuthbert to give the Naturals a 5-3 lead.
The Drillers evened the score with three straight two-out hits in the fifth. Adames singled and scored on a triple by Casteel, his first of the year. Tyler Massey then lined a single into left field that scored Casteel to tie the game at 5-5.
Newcomer David Kandilas put Tulsa back in front in the sixth. Brian Humphries led off with a base hit and Kandilas brought him home with a triple into the right-center field gap. Wong increased the Drillers lead to 7-5 when he singled home Kandilas.
The back and forth action continued as the Naturals got one of the runs back in the bottom of the sixth. Dozier led off with a base hit before Tulsa reliever Dan Houston issued consecutive one-out walks to load the bases. A wild pitch from Houston allowed Dozier to come home to cut the Drillers lead to one run.
The Drillers promptly restored their two-run lead in the seventh when Massey walked, advanced to third on a hit by Dustin Garneau and scored on a sacrifice fly from Jayson Langfels.
They put the game away with two more runs in the ninth as Garneau and Langfels singled in front of a two-run double from Kandilas.
Gray was not at his best but did pick up his seventh win of the season. The former University of Oklahoma hurler pitched five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. Gray registered seven strikeouts.
Houston allowed one run in two innings, and Nelson Gonzales worked a scoreless eighth inning. Former Naturals' reliever Cole White worked a 1-2-3 ninth to complete the win.
The Drillers had 15 hits in the game with the production spread throughout the lineup as hitters 2 through 6 all finished with two hits each. Kandilas, who entered the game 0-15 since his promotion from Class A, added three hits three runs batted in and finished a home run short of the cycle. Casteel also picked up three RBI.
The two teams will be back in action Saturday night at Springdale's Arvest Ballpark. The pitching matchup will feature Carlos Hernandez (1-4, 2.50 ERA) for the Drillers and J.C. Sulbaran (4-5, 3.04 ERA) for the Naturals. Starting time in Northwest Arkansas will be one hour earlier at 6:05 p.m.