The Tulsa Drillers got another outstanding effort Wednesday night from starting pitcher Dan Winkler, but the Frisco RoughRiders got a similar performance from ex-Drillers lefthander Edwar Cabrera. Each hurler allowed only one run in seven innings, but it was the Riders who got a struck late for the game winner.
Pat Cantwell's first home run of the season in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a tie game and sent Frisco to a 2-1 victory.
The meeting featured the Texas League's two first-place teams, and the win improved Frisco's TL-best record to 27-18, while the Drillers fell to 24-21. Despite the defeat, Tulsa remains atop the North Division standings.
The narrow loss continued a trend for the Drillers. It was their 18th one-run game of the season, with a record of 7-11 in those close games.
Neither starter was involved in the decision. Winkler surrendered only four hits and issued only one walk in his seven innings. He also picked up five strikeouts.
The only damage against Winkler came in the fifth inning. With two outs and the bases empty, back-to-back hits from Teodoro Martinez and Guilder Rodriguez produced the game's first run and gave the RoughRiders a 1-0 lead.
Cabrera, who was dominant in his half season with the Drillers in 2012, allowed only seven hits and one run in seven innings against his former team. He did not walk a batter and struck out four.
Tulsa's lone run against Cabrera came in the seventh inning, but it could have been more. Singles by Harold Riggins and Jared Simon put runners at first and second with one out. Delta Cleary Jr. plated Riggins with an extra-base hit to right field, but he was tagged out on the play when both he and Simon ended up near third base.
Instead of runners at second and third with one out, the Drillers only had a runner at third with two outs. When Taylor Featherston grounded out, the threat was over, leaving the game tied at 1-1.
Ken Roberts took over for Winkler to open the eighth and collected two quick strikeouts, bringing Cantwell to the plate. After a called strike, the Frisco catcher just cleared the left field wall with a drive that landed on the grass berm. The solo homer gave the Riders a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the ninth, Jayson Langfels singled off Phil Klein with one out, but the Frisco closer got a ground ball double play from Simon to end the game.
The Drillers lost despite out-hitting the Riders 9-5.
Winkler entered the game leading all TL pitchers in wins, ERA and strikeouts. After lowering his ERA to 1.46, he will remain the leader in all three categories.
Tulsa and Frisco will quickly return to action Thursday morning at Dr Pepper Ballpark. In a game that will begin at 11:05 a.m., former OU Sooner Jon Gray (4-2, 2.98 ERA) will pitch for the Drillers against Jerad Eickhoff (3-2, 4.06 ERA) of the RoughRiders.