It would be next to impossible to do more for your team than what Dan Winkler did for the Tulsa Drillers Thursday night. In the end, all Winkler got for his efforts was a loss.
Taking the mound in Tulsa's first road matchup of the season, the right-hander held Corpus Christi without a hit through the game's first six innings, but he was still involved in a scoreless tie when he took the mound to open the bottom of the seventh. Winkler's night ended when he walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh and then surrendered his first hit, a single by Andrew Aplin. When the inning was over, both runners had scored as well as two others. The Hooks used the big four-run inning to post a 6-0 victory and send Winkler to his first loss of the season.
The defeat for Winkler came despite a marvelous effort. In his six-plus innings, he only allowed two walks and the single to Aplin, but he was charged with two runs.
Carlos Hernandez relieved Winkler in that pivotal seventh inning with base runners at first and third, and the lefthander surrendered a base hit to Matt Duffy that plated the game's first run. Preston Tucker followed with another run-scoring hit before Enrique Hernandez singled to load the bases.
Another run scored on a botched rundown, and Jio Mier brought home the fourth run with a fielder's choice grounder.
The Hooks added two more runs in the eighth off Nate Striz. Delino DeShields drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a double by Nolan Fontana. DeShields raced home on a sacrifice fly from Aplin, and Fontana scored on a base hit by Duffy.
Tulsa actually out-hit the Hooks 10-6 in the contest but stranded 10 runners.
The Drillers best chance to score came in the top of the eighth when they loaded the bases with no outs after hits from Taylor Featherston and Cristhian Adames and a walk to Tom Murphy. A pair of strikeouts sandwiched around a ground out left all three runners stranded.
Featherston, Adames, Delta Cleary Jr. and Brian Humphries picked up two hits each in the game.
The Drillers also lost two runners on the base paths, including one at home in the second inning.
Luis Cruz picked up the win for the Hooks with three scoreless innings in relief of Tulsa native Ross Seaton, who threw five shutout frames.
The two teams will play the second game of their three-game series Friday night in Corpus Christi. The pitching matchup will feature Jon Gray (0-1, 4.50 ERA) for the Drillers against Matt Heidenreich (0-0, 13.50 ERA) of the Hooks. Starting time at Whataburger Field is again slated for 7:10PM.