In his last start five days ago, Edwar Cabrera had one of his worst outings of the season, allowing six runs in Tulsa's loss to Springfield. Monday night at ONEOK Field, Cabrera was back to his usual self. The lefthander was perfect through the game's first four innings and carried a no-hitter into the sixth. He eventually settled for a one-hitter in his seven-inning outing to lead the Drillers to a 6-0 shutout victory over the Naturals.
The win was the second straight for the Drillers in the four-game series with Northwest Arkansas and allowed them to retake sole possession of first place in the North Division standings, one game in front of the Naturals and two games in front of Springfield with only eight games remaining in the first half.
In addition to Cabrera's strong outing, it was also a memorable night for Corey Dickerson. The outfielder was making his Double A debut for the Drillers, following his promotion from Modesto. The 23-year-old homered in only his second at-bat to make an immediate impact with his new team.
For Cabrera, it was his second one-hit outing of the season. On April 17, he carried a no-hitter into the ninth before surrendering a leadoff single in the final inning. In Monday's outing, he lost his perfect game bid by issuing a leadoff walk to Johnny Whittleman to open the fifth. The first hit for the Naturals came the following inning on a one-out single by Yem Prades.
Cabrera issued two walks while striking out five in his seven-inning, shutout performance. The victory improved his record to 6-4, tying him with Dan Houston for the team lead in victories.
He credited a session with pitching coach Dave Schuler for his improvement from his last outing. "I worked on my mechanics a couple of days ago with coach Schuler," said Cabrera. "The change really helped the angle of my fastball, and I did not miss many pitches tonight."
Cabrera said the strength of the Naturals could not let him consider a possible no-hitter. "I was not thinking of the no-hitter and only the next pitch because they have a really good lineup," he said.
The Drillers staked Cabrera to an early lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Tulsa's first batter, Josh Rutledge, led off with a double. One pitch later, another double from Angelys Nina brought Rutledge home.
Nolan Arenado followed with a grounder that third baseman Mario Lisson failed to backhand, and Nina came home on the error to up the lead to 2-0.
Tulsa added three more runs in the fourth inning. Newcomer Corey Dickerson got the rally started with a home run into the Naturals' bullpen in right field. The solo homer came in only the second Double A at-bat for Dickerson, who joined the Drillers earlier in the day after being promoted from Modesto.
Following the homer, Kiel Roling drew a walk and scored on a two-out double by Lars Davis. Mike Mitchell followed with a single into right field that plated Davis to make it 5-0.
A bases loaded single by Kent Matthes in the sixth upped the margin to six runs.
Josh Sullivan allowed one hit in two relief innings to close out the victory.
The Drillers out-hit the Naturals 9-2 with Rutledge, Nina and Matthes collecting two each.
Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas will play the third game of their series Tuesday night. Nick Schmidt (3-3, 3.68 ERA) will take the mound for the Drillers, while former Drillers hurler Ethan Hollingsworth (0-1, 7.20 ERA) will pitch for the Naturals. First pitch is slated for 7:05PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.