After scoring just a single run last night, the Tulsa Drillers were looking to get off a fast start offensively Wednesday night against Northwest Arkansas.
The Drillers scored all six of their runs in the first four innings, and then used a dominant performance from their bullpen to down the Naturals, 6-4 at ONEOK Field.
Joe Gardner got the win, improving to 5-7 this season for the Drillers, as one of three pitchers who pitched the final five innings for Tulsa. Gardner, Michael Marbry, and Josh Sullivan allowed just three hits and one walk to preserve the lead the Drillers established at the end of the fourth inning.
Sullivan worked the ninth for his 13th save this season. NW Arkansas starter Noel Arguelles took the loss, dropping to 2-12 this year.
The Naturals struck first in the top of the first with two runs, but Tulsa responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame, plus two more in the bottom of the second to take a 3-2 lead. The Drillers scored the two runs in the second on a solo home run by Mike Zuanich and back-to-back doubles from Jose Gonzalez and Corey Dickerson.
After NW Arkansas tied the score in the top of the third, Tulsa pulled ahead 5-3 on an RBI groundout by Angelys Nina, and a bases-loaded walk issued to Tim Torres.
Both team added a run in the fourth for the final margin.
While the Drillers bullpen was magnificent, Naturals relief pitchers Brendan Lafferty and Sam Runion were equally salty, giving up two hits and three walks to Tulsa batters over the last four innings.
The two teams will go for the series win tomorrow night in Tulsa, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.