Tulsa, OK - The Tulsa Drillers used a combination of good hitting and good pitching to win three of their first four games in their current homestand. The trend continued Sunday night. The Drillers got 6 2/3 shutout innings from Josh Sborz and three more hits from the red-hot Henry Ramos to defeat Midland 3-1 at ONEOK Field.
The win keeps the Drillers in first place in the North Division standings of the Texas League with an 11-6 record.
For Sborz, who was the Pitcher of the Year in the California League last season, Sunday marked his strongest outing of this season. The right-hander held the RockHounds without a hit through the first 3 1/3 innings before allowing a one-out single to Max Schrock in the fourth. He surrendered only one other hit, a two-out double in the seventh to J.P. Sportman.
Sborz was given a lead when Tulsa struck for two runs in the third inning. With two outs, the Drillers put runners at second and third when Errol Robinson singled and Erick Mejia doubled. Ramos followed with a line drive base hit that plated both runners to give the Drillers a 2-0 lead.
Matt Beaty upped the margin to 3-0 in the sixth inning with a solo homer, his ninth of the season.
Sborz and reliever Corey Copping ensured the three-run lead was adequate, but the Drillers did have to survive a scary ninth inning. The RockHounds had the bases loaded with one out thanks to an error and a pair of walks. Tyler Ramirez trimmed the lead to 3-1 with a sacrifice fly that left runners at first and second.
At that point, a play from earlier in the game proved to be key. Midland shortstop Richie Martin was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing a close play a first base. It forced the short-handed RockHounds to insert their designated hitter into the game which meant the pitcher's slot was at the plate in the bottom of the ninth with the game on the line. Reliever Brandon Mann, who was making only his third plate appearance in professional baseball, grounded out to third to end the game and give the Drillers the win.
Sborz was credited with the victory to improve his record to 4-6. Copping picked up his seventh save.
Ramos finished 3-4 to record his fourth straight three-hit game. Since coming to Tulsa last month, the outfielder is now hitting .576 with 19 hits in 33 at-bats.
In the current homestand, the Drillers have now won four of the five games while hitting .330 as a team.
Tulsa will look to make it five wins in six games Monday night when it wraps up the homestand with a third game against Midland. Newcomer Eddie Gamboa will make his first start on the mound for the Drillers. Gamboa, who pitched seven games in the majors for Tampa Bay last year, was 5-6 with a 6.49 ERA for Triple-A Round Rock this season. The RockHounds will send Casey Meisner (0-2, 9.35 ERA) to the mound for the finale. First pitch will take place at 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.