TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa Drillers avoided a three-game losing streak Thursday thanks to a home run explosion, dropping the Northwest Arkansas Naturals 12-8 to close out a nine-game home stand.
Northwest Arkansas (36-33) jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the third quarter, but that's when the Drillers' (34-38) bats started to work.
After a Tim Wheeler leadoff single in the bottom of the third, Thomas Field homered to left field to tie the game 3-3. Ben Paulsen followed with his ninth long ball of the season to give Tulsa a one-run advantage, its first of the night.
In the bottom of the fourth, James Cesario – not known for his power – went yard to right field with Scott Beerer on base to give the Drillers a 6-3 lead.
Tulsa drew back-to-back walks to start the bottom of the fifth, followed by back-to-back singles to score Paulsen and set the table for Beerer. The left fielder put it over the center field wall for the grand slam to give the Drillers an 11-3 lead.
Northwest Arkansas closed the gap with five runs in the fifth and eighth inning, but Tulsa closer Daniel Turpin came in and retired the Naturals' batters in order to close the game.
Rob Scahill (5-5) was credited with a win for the Drillers, giving up five earned runs on eight hits, while striking out four in his 5.1 innings of service. Edgar Osuna (6-3) lasted just four innings for the Naturals, giving up six earned runs on eight hits – including three home runs – to be credited with a loss.
The Drillers will now depart for a quick four-game road trip, starting at 7:07 p.m. Friday against the Springfield Cardinals.