The Tulsa Drillers opened a four-game road trip Thursday night with a pitcher's duel in Northwest Arkansas. The Drillers received another strong outing from starting pitcher Colt Hynes, but Tulsa's offense could only generate a single run in support of Hynes. It was not enough as the Naturals broke a tie game with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to post a 2-1 victory at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale.
Hynes was not involved in the decision as he departed after five strong innings in what was his third good outing of the season. The Oklahoma City native allowed only two hits and one run in five innings of work.
The lefthander, who has pitched in 27 games in the majors with San Diego and Toronto, lowered his season ERA to 2.70 with the outing. He is yet to walk a batter this season.
Hynes blanked the Naturals through the first three innings, before the Drillers gave him a lead with the game's first run in the top of the fourth. With two outs and the bases empty, Kyle Garlick and Edwin Rios delivered back-to-back singles. Kyle Farmer made it three straight hits with a lined single to left field that plated Garlick to put Tulsa in front.
The Naturals answered in the bottom half of the fourth with their only damage against Hynes. Alfredo Escalera led off with a double and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Frank Schwindel to tie the game at 1-1.
Northwest Arkansas produced the game winner in the seventh against reliever Fabio Castillo. Schwindel led off the inning with a double off the glove of Farmer at third base, then came home with what proved to be the game winner on a base hit by Mauricio Ramos.
Tulsa threatened to send the game into extra innings with a rally in the ninth as Rios and Farmer opened the frame with their second hits of the night. With runners at first and second and no outs, the Naturals' Jake Newberry enticed a double-play grounder from Paul Hoenecke. After Stetson Allie worked a walk, Matt Beaty grounded out sharply to second to end the game.
The Drillers will look to snap what is now a season-high, three-game losing streak Friday night in the second game against the Naturals. Ivan Vieitez (0-1, 4.32 ERA) will take the mound for Tulsa against Christian Binford (1-0, 2.25 ERA) of Northwest Arkansas. Starting time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Arvest Ballpark.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.