It was the Jose show at ONEOK Field Saturday night for the Tulsa Drillers. Jose Gonzalez and Jose Rivera accounted for both of Tulsa's runs in a narrow 2-1 victory over the Arkansas Travelers.
A sellout crowd of 8,738, the largest this season for the Drillers, watched the action that took only 2 hours and 13 minutes to complete in downtown Tulsa. It was the ninth home sellout this season for the Drillers, who wrapped up their third straight North Division first-half title on Wednesday.
Gonzalez, who just rejoined the Drillers earlier this week, was a perfect 3-3 with a run batted in, while Rivera was 2-3 with the game-winning RBI.
The Drillers opened the scoring in the second inning, but Cristhian Adames came within inches of giving them a lead in the bottom of the first. With two outs and the bases empty, the shortstop hit a drive to deep right-center field. Adames tried to circle the bases on the play, but he was thrown out at the plate trying for the inside-the-park homer.
Tulsa did get on the scoreboard in the second thanks to Jayson Langfels and Gonzalez. Langfels singled, stole second and scored on a two-out single by the catcher.
For most of the night, it looked as if the one-run lead would hold up for a victory. Drillers starting pitcher Tyler Anderson kept the Travelers scoreless through the first 5.2 innings, surrendering only three hits. Anderson did not walk a batter and struck out three.
Reliever Ryan Arrowood got the final out in the sixth before surrendering the tying run in the seventh. With two outs and the bases empty, Jett Bandy and Jimmy Swift produced back-to-back singles. Kaleb Cowart made it three straight hits with a double into left-center field that plated Bandy. Swift also tried to score on the hit, but the Drillers perfectly executed a relay home that Gonzalez completed by making the tag to keep the game tied at 1-1.
The Drillers wasted little time in going back in front. Arkansas reliever Buddy Boshers retired the first two hitters in the seventh before Gonzalez doubled, bringing Rivera to the plate. The second baseman dropped a hit just inside the right field foul line, plating Gonzalez with the run that put the Drillers in front 2-1.
Arrowood sent the Travelers down in order in the eighth before turning the final inning over to Cole White. The right-hander worked a quick 1-2-3 ninth to close out the win, but there was a scary moment for the Drillers when the inning's leadoff batter, Kyle Hudson, attempted to bunt for a base hit. White fielded the grounder and threw to first for the out, but Hudson collided with first baseman Langfels. Langfels stayed on the ground and received treatment from trainer Chris Dovey before remaining in the game.
The victory improved Tulsa's first-half record to 37-29 with three games remaining in the half.
The Drillers and Travelers will play the fourth and final game of their series Saturday night at ONEOK Field. The pitching matchup will feature Richard Castillo (2-4, 4.47 ERA) for Tulsa against Michael Roth (4-4, 2.83 ERA) for Arkansas. It will be a Tulsa's Channel 8 Grand Slam Saturday with a large Fireworks Show after the game. First pitch will take place at 7:05PM.
NOTE: Saturday's game will be televised live on KTUL Digital Channel 8.3, Cox Cable channel 131. . . Before the game, the Drillers announced that pitcher Scott Oberg had been placed on the Disabled List with a shoulder strain. Pitcher Dan Houston rejoined the Drillers from Triple A Colorado Springs where he had a 2-3 record with a 5.96 ERA. . .