Round Rock, Texas - For the second straight game, the Oklahoma City Dodgers pitching staff did a solid job against a powerful Round Rock Express offense, but the Dodgers' bats struggled to capitalize on their scoring opportunities and fell, 4-2, Sunday afternoon at Dell Diamond.
The Dodgers (11-24) left the bases loaded three times in the final four innings and stranded a total of 13 runners on base. They went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and over their last three games against the Express, they are 0-for-their-last-24 with runners in scoring position and have left 22 runners in scoring position, including 14 at third base.
The Express (23-13) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. With runners at the corners and one out, Yordan Alvarez sent a three-homer to the roof of the batter's eye in center field for his league-leading 15th home run of the season.
Alvarez finished the day 2-for-4, and in four games against OKC, he is now 11-for-16 with two homers, six extra-base hits and 10 RBI.
But after getting down by three, the OKC pitching staff held Round Rock without a run or hit over the next four innings, giving the offense a chance to cut into the deficit. The Dodgers started the game with consecutive singles, but the didn't pick up their next hit until the seventh inning.
Entering the sixth inning, Round Rock starting pitcher Akeem Bostick had retired 14 of 16 batters following the back-to-back singles in the first inning. But Bostick began to lose the strike zone and walked three of the first four batters of the sixth inning to load the bases.
Reliever Dean Deetz replaced Bostick and hit Will Smith with a pitch, plating OKC's first run. Deetz then struck out Shane Peterson and got Drew Jackson to ground out to keep Round Rock up by two runs.
The Express got the run back in the bottom of the inning. Dodgers reliever Josh Sborz looked like he was about to escape a bases-loaded, no-out jam, but he threw a wild pitch with two outs, allowing a run to score and extend the lead back to three.
Josh Thole led off the seventh inning with a solo home run. The high fly ball to right field ricocheted off the safety railing for his first homer of year, again pulling the Dodgers within two runs.
After having the bases empty with two outs in the eighth inning, the Dodgers rallied to load the bases. However, Express reliever Reymin Guduan got Errol Robison to fly out and end the inning.
Still trailing, 4-2, in the ninth inning, the Dodgers put the tying runs in scoring position with one out after Matt Beaty was hit by a pitch and Kyle Garlick doubled to deep left field.
Guduan then struck out Edwin Ríos for the second out before the Express made a pitching change and brought in Brendan McCurry. Smith walked to load the bases, but McCurry was able to end the game and garner a groundout by Peterson.
Bostick (3-1) defeated the Dodgers for the second time in as many as starts, allowing one run and two hits over 5.1 innings. He finished with four walks and four strikeouts. McCurry closed out a Round Rock win for the second straight day and earned his fourth save.
Dodgers starting pitcher Dennis Santana (0-2) regrouped after the early homer and did not give up a hit or run for the remainder of his outing. He ended up with the loss and tied his season high with four walks to go along with four strikeouts over four innings.
The OKC bullpen had another nice showing, holding Round Rock to one run over four innings with six strikeouts.
The Dodgers have now lost each of their first five meetings with the Express this season. They look to get over the hump and into the win column when they next play at 7:05 p.m. Monday. Live radio coverage of each game begins 15 minutes before first pitch on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com and through the free iHeartRadio or MiLB First Pitch apps.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.