LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – The Tulsa Drillers handed the Arkansas Travelers its sixth straight loss Thursday winning 5-4.
Tulsa found itself down 4-1 after two innings, but the Drillers rallied to score four unanswered runs and earn the teams third straight victory.
Back to back hits from Wheeler and Hector Gomez led off the game, eventually being followed by a two-out intentional walk to Brian Rike loaded the bases.
Arkansas did some damage in the second loading the bases with one out, thanks to two singles and a walk off Gardner. Alberto Rosario grounded to the pitcher who then attempted to start the double-play by throwing to second base. The ball then sailed into centerfield with two runners scoring on the play, Rosario advanced to third on the throw Gardner then induced a ground ball for the second in the inning, but allowed a Matt Long single to right scoring Rosario and Angel Castillo from both second and third base.
By the end of the inning, Arkansas had scored four unearned runs to lead the game 4-1.
In the top of the fourth the Drillers cut the deficit to one. Erik Wetzel singled on a ground ball to center, with two outs, as Wheeler then launched his thirty-first home run of the season to cut the score to 4-3.
The Drillers then took the lead in the sixth thanks to a Travelers error. McBride opened the inning with a single to left, then Mike Mitchell followed one batter later with a triple to right field to bring McBride home. A missed catch on the relay throw permitted Mitchell to race home, giving the Drillers a 5-4 advantage.
Gardner went six innings on the night, surrendering four runs (0 ER) on six hits, neither walking nor striking out a batter. Joe Torres relieved Gardner in the seventh, to pitch a perfect 1 2/3 innings striking out two batters.
The final game between the Drillers and Travelers of the 2011 season will be Friday night at 7:10 p.m. at Dickey-Stephens Park in Little Rock.