After being swept in a doubleheader the previous night, the Tulsa Drillers were able to take out some of their frustrations Friday night in the opening game of a three-game series with the Midland RockHounds.
The Drillers got a pair of three-run innings and an impressive outing from starting pitcher Richard Castillo to post a 7-1 victory in downtown Tulsa.
A sellout crowd of 8,494 watched the action at ONEOK Field. It was the 8th sellout in 23 home openings for the Drillers this season and the largest crowd of the year.
Tulsa's first three-run inning came in the bottom of the first, but it came at a cost. Midland starting pitcher Chris Jensen retired the first two batters of the inning before Ryan Casteel reached on an infield single. Jensen then hit Brian Humphries on the left ankle with a pitch to put runners at first and second. Humphries, who missed time earlier this season after being hit by a pitch, was noticeably limping and was removed from the game for pinch-runner Jared Simon.
Dustin Garneau followed and put the Drillers on the board when he singled into right field and plated Casteel. With runners at second and third, Tyler Massey delivered another base hit that brought both Simon and Garneau home to give Tulsa an early 3-0 advantage.
The Drillers made it 4-0 with another run in the third. Cristhian Adames led off with a double off the right field fence. Adames moved to third on a fly out and scored on Garneau's second hit, a two-out single to center.
Another three-run inning in the fourth sealed the victory for the Drillers. Just like in the first, the rally began with two outs and the bases empty when Delta Cleary Jr. was hit by a pitch. Taylor Featherston followed with a liner directly at right fielder Chad Oberacker that looked to be the final out of the inning. However, the ball rolled all the way to the fence when Oberacker ducked under the drive at the last second. Cleary Jr. scored from first on the play, and Featherston raced to third on the three-base error.
Adames drew a walk and Casteel suffered another hit by pitch to load the bases. Simon delivered a two-run base hit that increased Tulsa's lead to 7-0.
Castillo blanked the Hounds on only one hit through the first five innings before Beau Taylor ended his shutout bid. Taylor led off the sixth with his third home run of the season to put Midland on the board.
It was the only blemish against the Tulsa starter. Castillo surrendered two hits and the one run in six innings and improved his record to 2-3.
Ken Roberts did not allow a hit in two shutout relief innings.
Closer Scott Oberg pitched around a pair of walks in the ninth inning to complete the victory.
The trio of Tulsa pitchers limited the RockHounds to only two hits in the victory.
The initial diagnosis on Humphries was a contusion. His status will be evaluated on Saturday.
The Drillers and RockHounds will be back in action Saturday night. On the mound, Tulsa's Eddie Butler (4-4, 2.39 ERA) will square off against lefthander Andrew Werner (2-3, 6.00 ERA) of Midland. Starting time at ONEOK Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.