The Drillers extended their winning streak to six straight with a 6-4 win against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Thursday night in Springdale.
The victory improved the Drillers record to 33-25, good for a 4.5 game lead on first place in the Texas League North.
Although not his most glamorous performance, Jon Gray picked up his sixth win of the season, second most in the league. He allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks over 5.1 innings of work, striking out 3.
Naturals pitching miscues in the third inning allowed the Drillers to jump out to a four-run lead in the third inning. After a walk and a double put the first two batters for Tulsa at second and third, Tim Melville threw a wild pitch on a 3-2 count that scored Jayson Langfels and walked Delta Cleary Jr. Joey Wong then scored on a fielder's choice on Taylor Featherston's ground ball.
Another wild pitch with Ryan Casteel batting moved advanced Featherston and Christhian Adames to second and third from first and second.
Finally, a third wild pitch, which was the third strike in Brian Humphries's two-out at-bat, got past catcher Juan graterol to extend the inning and score Featherston. Dustin Garneau took advantage of the opportunity and scored one more on a hard hit ball that deflected off of Melville and scored Adames, putting the Drillers up 4-0.
Orlando Calixte, who hit a walk-off home run against Tulsa earlier this season, led off the fourth inning with a deep ball to left field that cleared the fences and scored the first run for the Naturals.
Back-to-back walks put runners on first and second in the fifth inning, and Calixte once again struck with a line drive single to score Angel Franco and shorten the Drillers lead to 4-2.
Both teams scored two runs in the sixth inning to keep the game a two-run difference. Cleary Jr. singled home Tyler Massey in the top of the inning, and Langfels came home when Adames reached on an errant throw from second baseman Franco.
Graterol's double down the left field line off of reliever Ken Roberts in the bottom of the sixth scored Cheslor Cuthbert and Mark Threlkeld and kept the Naturals in reach.
However, they would not get any closer, as Ken Roberts did not allow any more runs in his 2.2 innings of work that took the Drillersthrough the eighth inning.
Scott Oberg entered in the ninth and retired the side to notch his 14th save in 14 opportunites, good for second most in the Texas League.
Langfels and Cleary Jr. led the Tulsa offense with two hits apiece.
Massey, who has been quite hot at the plate as of late, provided crucial defense for the Drillers Thursday night. He had a wall-scaling, home-run robbing catch in the fourth inning, and also picked up an outfield assist throwing out Graterol at home.
The Drillers will close out their series in Springdale Friday night. Carlos Hernandez (3-1, 1.88 ERA) will make his sixth start of the season and will take on JC Sulbaran (2-4, 3.81 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Meanwhile, Rockies number two overall prospect Eddie Butler, who was the opening night starter for Tulsa and boasted a 2.49 ERA in 11 starts for the Drillers this season, will make his MLB debut with the Colorado Rockies against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field Friday night.