The Tulsa Drillers finally had their six-game winning streak broken by the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Friday night in Springdale by a final score of 5-4.
The Drillers attempted a comeback late in the game, scoring three runs in the final two frames, but ultimately could not rally.
For the fifth straight game, the Drillers were the first to score. Brian Humphries came home on Jayson Langfels's single to put the Drillers up 1-0 halfway through the second inning.
The Naturals countered with two runs of their own in the home half of the second. Mark Threlkeld singled home Max Ramirez, who led off with a double. Consecutive ground outs allowed Threlkeld to advance to third and then score, putting the Naturals up 2-1.
Northwest Arkansas added two more in the bottom of the fifth. Angel Franco began the bottom of the inning with a single and moved to second when Orlando Calixte drew a walk in the next at-bat.
Ramirez's double down the left field foul line scored both Franco and Calixte and gave the Naturals a three-run edge.
Two runs in the eighth put the game within one run for Tulsa. Singles by Jose Rivera and Tyler Massey around a wild pitch from Naturals reliever Malcolm Culver put runners on the corners. Christhian Adames brought home Rivera with a sac fly, andHumphries was able to score Massey on a line drive up the middle.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Naturals' Cheslor Cuthbert walked, stole second and scored on a Threlkeld single to reestablish a two-run lead for Northwest Arkansas.
Tulsa made a push in the ninth to tie the game. Langfels scored on Massey's base-hit after singling and stealing second, but the Drillers could not mount a comeback and fell one run short.
Drillers starter Carlos Hernandez battled through his toughest start of the season, giving up 4 earned runs on 8 hits and 2 walks over 4.2 innings of work, yet struck out an impressive 8 batters.
On the other hand, Northwest Arkansas starter JC Sulbaran continued his high-quality production against Tulsa this season. The Florida native allowed only 1 earned run on 6.1 innings, striking out 5. Sulbaran has now allowed only three earned runs in four starts against the Drillers, good for a 1.16 ERA in those games.
Tyler Massey continued his hot stretch at the plate, adding three hits out of the lead-off spot for Tulsa. Third baseman Langfels also had three hits.
In Denver, recently promoted Driller Eddie Butler made his major league debut with the Colorado Rockies. Butler gave up 6 earned runs on 5.1 innings in his start against a talented Los Angeles Dodgers lineup.
The Drillers will head to Springfield for a four-game series beginning Saturday night. Tyler Anderson (3-2, 2.93 ERA) will come off the DL to make his first start since May 23, while the Cardinals have yet to announce their starter. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m.