Sunday afternoon featured the second straight game that a Colorado Rockies first round draft pick made their Double-A debut for the Tulsa Drillers. Less than 24 hours after Jon Gray took the mound at ONEOK Field, Tyler Anderson did the same, and he more than lived up to expectations. The left-hander allowed only one hit and one unearned run in five efficient innings and gained the victory as the Drillers topped the San Antonio Missions 5-1.
Anderson, who was a first-round draft pick of the Rockies in 2011, was a combined 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA at Tri-City and Modesto last season after being slowed by a stress fracture in his left elbow.
Anderson showed no signs of that issue in his first start this season. He threw a total of 74 pitches, 50 for strikes. He walked only one hit hitter while striking out six. The 24-year-old University of Oregon product is rated as the Rockies #11 prospect by MLB.com, but will likely move up if Sunday's one-hit debut is any indication.
The only damage against Anderson came early as the Missions jumped to a quick lead with the unearned run in the top of the first inning. With one out, Jace Peterson doubled into the left field corner and Rymer Liriano drew a walk. With runners at first and third, Liriano stole second base. Catcher Tom Murphy's throw sailed into centerfield, and Peterson came home with the game's first run.
Tulsa quickly erased its deficit with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first. Cristhian Adames drew a leadoff walk, and Joey Wong followed with a ground-rule double. Murphy brought Adames home with a grounded single to left, and Brian Humphries plated Wong with a base hit to center.
The score remained 2-1 until the Drillers added another run in the fifth. Murphy began the rally by drawing a one-out walk. Singles by Ryan Casteel and Humphries loaded the bases, and Jared Simon then made it three straight hits when he a lined a pitch to right field that scored Murphy to give the Drillers a two-run lead.
Tulsa upped the margin to 4-1 in the seventh inning, but missed a chance to put the game away. The inning began with three straight singles from Murphy, Casteel and Humphries that produced the run. After a walk to Jared Simon loaded the bases, Jayson Langfels was retired on strikes for the first out. Reliever Carlos Hernandez hit a chopper right on top of the plate that turned into a 2-3 inning-ending double play.
On the mound, Hernandez was just as effective at Anderson. The lefthander, who pitched for Midland and Triple-A Sacramento last season, retired the first seven hitters he faced before hitting Lee Orr with a pitch with one out in the eighth. It was the only base runner he allowed in three shutout innings.
Scott Oberg allowed a two-out single in a scoreless ninth inning to complete the gem. It was only the second hit for the Missions in the contest that finished in a light rain.
Humphries led the Drillers in their biggest offensive output of the young season, going a perfect 4-4 at the plate. As a team, they totaled a season high 15 hits. Wong added three hits, while Murphy and Casteel picked up two each.
The two teams will continue their series with their second straight afternoon contest on Monday. The pitching matchup will feature former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand Richard Castillo for the Drillers, and James Needy for the Missions. Starting time at ONEOK Field is slated for 12:05 p.m.