After a 2-8 road trip … with seven of the eight losses coming by three runs or fewer (and six by either one or two runs) … the RockHounds not only won the opener of a six-game home stand, they did it in a close game, defeating the Tulsa Driller, 8-6, Tuesday night at Rocky Town.
Both clubs got multiple impact performances, perhaps none more important than Josh Whitaker, who was clutch for the 'Hounds with both his bat and glove. In addition to going 2-for-4 with a solo home run and two RBI, the right fielder made a running catch on Angelys Nina's drive to the warning track in deep right-center with the bases loaded and two out in the fifth. The catch saved three runs, and the eventual margin of victory was two.
The RockHounds, again, got to Tulsa Starter Tim Gustafson (see "Kibbles & Bits," below), scoring all eight runs against the right-hander over four-and-a-third innings, building an 8-2 lead.
Tulsa broke through with three runs in the sixth, drawing to within 8-5, and pared the lead to 8-6 in the eighth with an RBI single from Tyler Kuhn. The 'Hounds then called on reliever Ryan Dull, who shut down the eighth-inning rally and retired the side in order in the ninth for his first Double-A save (and his 19th of the season, combined, in 20 opportunities). Dull struck out red-hot Kyle Parker (also see "Kibbles & Bits") with the tying run at the plate to end the eighth.
Kibbles & Bits
- D'Arby Myers (2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored) ran his hit streak to 22 games, extending the longest hit streak in the 2013 Texas League season (the previous high was 17 games). D'Arby is now 34-for-89 (.382) in the 22-gamer.
- Tulsa's Kyle Parker went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBI, and Tyler Kuhn reached base in four-of-five trips to the plate with a single, double, and two walks. He scored three runs and drove in another.
- Josh Whitaker, Dusty Coleman, and Vinnie Catricala each drove in two runs for the 'Hounds, while Chad Oberacker scored one run and drove in another. "Obie" scored after drilling his Texas League-leading 11th triple of the year (teammate Dusty Coleman is second with 10).
- Despite playing for the RockHounds in two stints this season, Tuesday was Whitaker's home debut. He joined the club on the road in May, but suffered a fractured left wrist in just his fifth game. When he re-joined the team earlier this month, it was at the start of the 10-game, 11-day road swing.
- Drillers starting pitcher Tim Gustafson must be more than happy the RockHounds and Tulsa do not meet again after this series. In four starts versus the 'Hounds, the right-hander is 0-2, with a 13.75 earned run average. Against the rest of the Texas League, his ERA is 3.66.
- The RockHounds are home at Citibank Ballpark through Sunday, hosting Tulsa Wednesday (6:30) and Thursday (7:00) evenings, followed by a three-game set versus the Springfield Cardinals (Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6).
- The home stand includes "Thirsty Thursday" (August 15) … Adult Jersey Night (Friday the 16th) and one of two remaining fireworks shows in the 2013 season … Saturday night (the 17th).
WP: Nate Long (2-1, 3.91)
LP: Tim Gustafson (6-9, 5.18)
SV: Ryan Dull (1, 1.50)
HR: RockHounds - Josh Whitaker (3) Solo in the 3rd (off Tim Gustafson)
vs. Tulsa Drillers (Colorado Rockies' AA Affiliate)
Wednesday, August 14 6:30 p.m. - Radio at 6:15 p.m.
Tulsa: (RH) Christian Bergman (7-7, 3.28)
RockHounds: (RH) Murphy Smith (8-8, 3.77)