Round Rock, Texas - The Oklahoma City Dodgers built a five-run lead behind a key home run by Max Muncy and a strong start by Eddie Gamboa before having to hold off a late rally by the Round Rock Express in a 6-5 win Friday night at Dell Diamond.
The Express (63-72) opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning. With runners at first and second base and one out, Preston Beck hit a ground ball toward first base. Edwin Rios fielded the ball and threw to second base to get the forceout, but Charlie Culberson's return throw to first base trying to complete the double play went wide and into foul territory. As a result of the throwing error, Ryan Rua scored to give Round Rock a 1-0 lead.
Muncy put the Dodgers in front in the fourth inning. With two runners on and facing a 0-2 count, he hit an opposite field home run out to left field, and his three-run shot gave OKC a 3-1 advantage. His 11th home run of the season also extended his current hitting streak to a career-best 13 games.
The Dodgers (72-66) added to the lead in the sixth inning, but not before there was some controversy. With runners at second and third base, Trayce Thompson hit a ground ball toward third base. The runner at third was Rios, and he took off toward home plate as the ball was put in play. Brett Hayes fielded the ball, but his throw to the plate drew catcher Kevin Torres well off of it. Rios appeared to slide across the plate, but home plate umpire Junior Valentine ruled Rios had missed the plate. Torres then tagged Rios outside of the batter's circle for the out.
Manager Bill Haselman protested the call and was subsequently ejected.
The Dodgers did end up scoring a run later in the sixth. Bobby Wilson hit a RBI groundout with the bases loaded to make it 4-1.
In the seventh, Kyle Farmer hit a two-run single with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 6-1. In his first game back with OKC since being optioned by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Farmer went 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
The Dodgers were seemingly in command of the game in the eighth inning, still leading by five. But the Express rallied and plated four runs. Each of the first five batters reached base on two hits and three walks, including a two-run double by former OKC Dodger Willie Calhoun.
With the bases loaded and none out, reliever Dylan Floro entered the game. Floro induced a forceout at the plate and then struck out Preston Beck for the first two outs. Phil Gosselin then followed with a two-run single to pull the Express within one run.
Torres came up next and lined a single to center field. Henry Ramos fired to home plate and Wilson received the ball a bounce in the right side of the batter's box. He then applied a swipe tag on the runner Hayes' back for the final out of the inning, preserving the lead.
There wasn't nearly as much drama in the ninth inning, as Floro remained the game and retired the side in order, picking up his second save of the season.
Gamboa delivered six strong innings to earn the win. He allowed only one unearned run and five hits, with no walks and four strikeouts. After giving up three hits through the first five batters he faced, Gamboa retired 15 of the final 17 batters he faced. He was efficient as well, using just 73 pitches over six frames.
Round Rock starting pitcher James Dykstra took the loss, allowing four runs and seven hits over 5.1 innings. He walked three and struck out four.
Farmer and Tim Locastro each had a game-high three hits. It marked the second straight three-hit game for Locastro, who continued his recent hot streak since coming off the Disabled List earlier this week. He's now 10-for-18 over five games, with four multi-hit games in five starts.
Rios added two hits and reached base four times. Muncy drew two walks in addition to his home run.
With the win, the Dodgers improved to 4-1 at Dell Diamond this season and 11-2 in Round Rock over the past two seasons.
The Dodgers continue their series against the Express at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Dell Diamond. Live game coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com, or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.