TULSA, Oklahoma – The Tulsa Drillers suffered a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Arkansas Travelers Saturday that also eliminated them from contention for the first-half division title.
Coming off a 13-inning marathon, the Drillers' offense was stagnant all day. They could not solve Arkansas pitcher Matt Shoemaker in the first game, amassing just two hits.
Tulsa's only real scoring chance of the game came in the second inning, when a leadoff double followed by a sacrifice bunt put a runner on third with one out. Just a grounder up the middle or a fly ball to the outfield would have been enough, but the Drillers could manage neither.
A strikeout and groundout ended the threat, and it was smooth sailing for Shoemaker from there. He did not allow another hit, and Tulsa managed to get just one more runner into scoring range.
Meanwhile, the Travelers' first three batters in the lineup – Mike Trout, Darwin Perez and Luis Jimenez – drove in one run apiece to provide Shoemaker all the support he needed.
Arkansas carried their momentum into the second game and got off to a quick start, scoring a total of four runs in the first two innings for a 4-0 lead.
The Drillers cut the lead to one with a run in the second inning followed by a two-run home run by Wilin Rosario in the third, but they were never able to completely eliminate the deficit. The Travelers added insurance runs with a two-run homer by Orlando Mercado to make it 6-3, and that's how the game ended.
By Texas League rules, the team that has the best record in the first half of the season earns an automatic playoff bid. But the Drillers' two losses dropped them to 3.5 games behind the Travelers in the division with only three games to play in the first half, which knocks Tulsa out of contention.
The two teams will complete their four-game series at 7:05 p.m. Sunday.