The Drillers got off to a good start by winning their first of a three-game series in San Antonio on Sunday afternoon. Tulsa was able to battle back after allowing three runs in the first inning.
Starter Richard Castillo settled and only allowed three hits in five scoreless innings following the first inning. Castillo was awarded his first win of the year after the Drillers took the lead by producing their own three-run inning in the fifth, which held for the remainder of the game.
However, now for the tenth straight game, which is every game so far in the 2014 season, the Drillers failed to score first.
San Antonio started quickly, putting three runs on the board in the first inning. Cory Spangenberg doubled to left field and Jace Peterson drew a walk right after. Rymer Liriano then doubled down the left field line to score Spangenberg and move Peterson to third base.
In the next at-bat, what appeared to be an inning-ending double play ball off the bat of Austin Hedges snuck past the glove of third baseman Tim Smalling for a double and scored Peterson and Liriano, giving the Missions an early 3-0 lead.
The Drillers responded in the second with a run. Ryan Casteel led of with a double to left field, and Harold Riggins reached base when he was hit by a pitch two batters later.
Tyler Massey then reached on a fielder's choice when his slow grounder caused shortstop Jace Peterson's throw to second to be late, loading the bases for Delta Cleary Jr.
Cleary Jr., who seems to be maturing at the plate this season, then drew an RBI walk, shortening the Missions lead to two. Richard Castillo could not extend the inning when he grounded into an inning-ending double play in the ensuing at-bat.
The score would remain 3-1 until the fifth inning, when the Drillers produced some much needed offense. Richard Castillo redeemed grounding into the bases-loaded double play in the second inning by lining a well-hit ball to right field for a single. After Taylor Featherston struck out for the second out of the inning, Joey Wong drew a walk, putting runners on first and second.
Tim Smalling then took a sharp grounder down the left field line for his fourth double of the year, scoring Castillo and moving Wong to third. Ryan Casteel gave the Drillers the 4-3 lead in the next at-bat on a line drive to left field, bringing home Wong and Smalling.
It appeared as though the Drillers might be able to extend their lead when Brian Humphries doubled to right field after the Casteel single. But reliever Matt Branham, who came in for Missions starter James Needy after the Humphries double, got Harold Riggins to fly out to end the Drillers' three-run fifth.
From the bottom of the fifth on, neither team would be able to do much offensively.
Carlos Hernandez and Kraig Sitton pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings, respectively, after Richard Castillo completed his quality start of six innings while only allowing three earned runs.
Drillers closer Scott Oberg came into the game in the 9th inning and recorded the save, although the Missions made it interesting.
After Austin Hedges led off the inning with a single to left field, Lee Orr hit a deep fly ball two at-bats later that carried to a tracking Brian Humphries at the warning track in left field, nearly a walk-off home run for the Missions.
Oberg survived and forced B.J. Guinn to ground into the final out of the game with runners on first and second for his second save of the season.
Eddie Butler, the 40th overall prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, will take on Matt Wisler, the 77th over prospect in baseball, for the second time in a week when the Drillers will play the Missions Monday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.