The saying is the "third time is the charm." We're not sure how "charming" it was, but the RockHounds 4-2 win in the finale of a three-game series with Northwest Arkansas was sure needed. The RockHounds built a 4-0 lead for the second straight night (they also had the lead early in Tuesday's series opener) and this time, the advantage stood up as the 'Hounds defeated the Naturals, 4-2, Thursday night at Arvest Ballpark. The win was the club's first in the three-game series and in six games overall in 2017 at Springdale.
Jorge Mateo score the game's first run in the fourth, drawing a walk and stealing second and third before scoring on Max Schrock 's sharp one-hopper to first baseman Samir Duenez . The Naturals first baseman - who was playing even with the bag - glanced at third before going to the bag, with Mateo then breaking for the plate and beating Duenez's throw.
Tyler Ramirez 's one-out single in the fifth turned into a 2-0 RockHounds lead on Sean Murphy 's RBI single to right and the 'Hounds added two more runs in the sixth. Schrock drew a leadoff walk and Viosergy Rosa continued a tremendous series with a double in the gap to right-center. A sacrifice fly from Jermaine Curtis and Ramirez's third hit of the game - a single to center - drove in the runs.
Video: Murphy slaps RBI single for Midland
Grant Holmes tossed 5.2 shutout innings on two hits, before surrendering three consecutive hits, including a two-run home run to Duenez, in the sixth. Holmes rebounded from a rough start in his last outing (eight runs in 2.2 innings August 4 versus San Antonio) to record the 10th quality outing in his last 13. The right-hander allowed only the two runs in the sixth, on five hits and two walks, while striking out eight.
Brandon Mann (0.1 innings, hold), Tyler Sturdevant (one inning, hold) and Sam Bragg combined to go the final 3.1 innings with Bragg facing and retiring six batters in the eighth and ninth for his fourth save of the season.
The RockHounds are:
56-61 overall … 21-26 in the second half ... have dropped five of their last seven games … went 1-2 in the series at Northwest Arkansas
3-6 in the season series against Northwest Arkansas ... 1-5 at Arvest Ballpark and 2-1 at Security Bank Ballpark … the clubs will meet in a three-game set next Tuesday-Thursday (August 15-17) at Security Bank Ballpark
third in the Texas League South in second half ... 6.5 games behind the San Antonio Missions and 1.5 games behind Corpus Christi
0.5 games behind Corpus Christi in the (potential) South Division wild card race … all four South Division clubs posted wins on Thursday night (just as the North did Tuesday), so the standings did not change
32-25 at home … 24-36 on the road
14-25 versus the North Division and 42-36 versus the South
Jermaine Curtis (0-for-3, sac fly, RBI) saw his remarkable 40-game on-base streak come to an end. In that stretch - the fourth-longest in Minor League Baseball in 2017 - Curtis hit .326 with a .450 on-base percentage. Ironically, while he didn't reach base safely, he had an RBI with a key sacrifice fly.
It wasn't a good night for streaks, overall, for the 'Hounds. In addition to Curtis, Jorge Mateo (eight games), B.J. Boyd (five games) and Max Schrock (five games) all lost hit streaks. On the other hand …
After going 3-for-30 with six RBI in his previous eight games, Viosergy Rosa (2-for-4, double, run) has a hit in five straight games (11-for-21, .524). Rosa is hitting is 9-for-17 (run, triple, two walks, four RBI) in his last four games. Rosa has been a nemesis for the Naturals, hitting .367 (11-for-30) with two home runs and 16 RBI in the eight games between the clubs.
Jorge Mateo (0-for-3, walk, two stolen bases, run) reached base for the ninth consecutive game as a RockHound and has now stolen six bases in as many attempts, bringing his season total to 45 (second in all of Minor League Baseball).
Tyler Ramirez (3-for-4, run, RBI) has a hit in five straight games (8-for-19, .421).
B.J. Boyd (0-for-3, walk) is hitting .372 (16-for-43) in his last 11 games.
Max Schrock went 0-for-3 but reached base on a walk and had an RBI. Schrock has hits in 18 of his last 21 games (30-for-80, .375) and has reached base in 31 of his last 34 games (42-for-126, .333).
The Hounds' road trip continues with a three-game weekend series with the Arkansas Travelers at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.
The RockHounds are back home next Tuesday-Sunday (August 15-20) to host the Naturals and Travelers at Security Bank Ballpark.
Friday's probable starters:
Travelers - RHP Justin DeFratus (5-6, 4.87)
RockHounds - RHP Heath Fillmyer (7-4, 3.76)
DeFratus was originally selected by Philadelphia in the 11th round of the 2007 draft out of Ventura (CA) College and was a top 15 prospect on the Phillies farm entering the 2013 season. Since electing free agency after 2015, he has pitched for Seattle, Texas and Washington. He was a non-roster invitee this spring with San Diego, but did not pitch on the Padres' farm. The 29-year-old native of Oxnard, California, pitched briefly in the independent Atlantic League with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs before signing with the Mariners as a free agent on May 11.
Fillmyer makes his 25th start for the RockHounds and his second against Arkansas. In his previous start against the Travelers was a no-decision in a 7-6 home loss on June 1: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R / 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. He enters Friday's game tied for eighth in the Texas League with a 3.76 ERA, is fourth with 46 walks and leads the league with 24 games started. He is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in his last four starts and is coming off an outstanding performance versus San Antonio, a no-decision in a 4-2, 14-inning loss at Security Bank Ballpark on August 5. Fillmyer went seven innings and allowed just one hit (Nick Schulz 's two-run home run) with two walks and four strikeouts. Rated Oakland's #15 prospect by Baseball America and #12 by MLB.com, Fillmyer was Oakland's fifth round draft choice in 2014 out of Mercer Community College in West Windsor Township, New Jersey.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.