The Tulsa Drillers' struggles at ONEOK Field continued Tuesday night in downtown Tulsa in the opening game of a four-game series with the Arkansas Travelers.
On a cold, windy evening, the Drillers dropped their third straight home game as the Travs broke open a tie game with six runs in the sixth inning and recorded a 9-4 victory.
The defeat dropped the Drillers' record at ONEOK Field this season to 4-9. In comparison, they have compiled an 8-4 mark in 12 road games.
Both teams got on the scoreboard in the first inning. For the Travs, Kyle Hudson led off the game with a base hit. After stealing second base, Hudson scored when shortstop Joey Wong let a deflected grounder hit by Zach Borenstein go under his glove for an error.
The Drillers also took advantage of a miscue to score in the bottom half of the first. Taylor Featherston drew a leadoff walk, and like Hudson, moved into scoring position with a stolen base. When Arkansas starting pitcher Yeiper Castillo threw a pitch in the dirt, Featherston broke for third, and when catcher Anderson De La Rosa's throw sailed into left field, Featherston raced all the way home to tie the game at 1-1.
Defensive struggles again caused Anderson trouble in the third inning. After Eric Stamets led off with a base hit, Andy Workman lifted a fly ball to centerfield. Tyler Massey drifted back in front of the warning track and appeared to be in good position to make the catch, but the ball deflected off his glove for an error.
With the runners at second and third, Hudson dropped a base hit into left field that plated Stamets, and when the ball skipped by a sliding Brian Humphries, Workman also scored to make it 3-1.
Tulsa got one of the runs back in the bottom of the fourth. Tom Murphy was hit by a pitch from Castillo to open the inning, and Harold Riggins followed with a base hit. Massey popped out, but Castillo plunked Jayson Langfels in the back to load the bases. Jared Simon's sacrifice fly scored Murphy to cut the Arkansas lead to one run.
The Drillers evened the score at 3-3 with another run in the fifth inning. Joey Wong drew a leadoff walk, and Dustin Garneau doubled him to third. Wong scored on an infield groundout from Humphries.
The Travelers put the game away with a six-run sixth inning against reliever Nelson Gonzalez. They sent 10 men to the plate in the inning that included six hits and another error from the Drillers.
Tulsa closed out the scoring with a single run in the bottom of the sixth. Massey led off with a base hit and eventually scored on a two-out hit by Featherston.
The Drillers had a rough night defensively, committing four errors in the contest.
Anderson was charged with three runs, but they were all unearned. The lefthander surrendered only three hits and no walks in his five innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out five.
Reliever Ken Roberts retired all seven batters he retired after taking over for Gonzalez.
The two teams will quickly return to action with an 11:05 a.m. starting time at ONEOK Field for Wednesday's second game of the series. Richard Castillo (1-1, 2.35 ERA) will pitch for the Drillers, while Mark Sappington (0-3, 6.04 ERA) will work for the Travelers.