For the second game in a row, Keibert Ruiz came up big for the Tulsa Drillers Wednesday night in the Texas League Championship Series. With the Drillers trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, Ruiz delivered a clutch, RBI single to tie Game 2 of the TLCS and set the stage for another walk-off win for Tulsa. Three batters later with the bases loaded, a wild pitch allowed Drew Jackson to race home with the winning run in a thrilling 6-5 Drillers victory before a boisterous crowd at ONEOK Field.
The dramatic victory gives Tulsa a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series with both wins coming in walk-off fashion. The series now switches to San Antonio for Game 3 Friday night, and if necessary, Games 4 and 5 Saturday and Sunday nights.
With the Missions protecting the slim one-run lead, hard-throwing reliever Andres Munoz came on for the bottom of the ninth to close out the win that would even the series for San Antonio. Munoz was clocked as fast as 102 MPH on the stadium radar gun, but he walked Gavin Lux and Jackson to begin the inning. Ruiz followed by dropping the first pitch into left for a single that plated Lux with the game-tying run.
The Drillers were not done after the big hit from Ruiz. In between a pair of strikeouts, Jackson swiped third to put runners at the corners. After Ruiz moved to second on defensive indifference, Zach Reks forced a walk from Munoz to load the bases with two outs.
San Antonio summoned Dauris Valdez from the bullpen to replace Munoz who had thrown 32 pitches in the inning. With ONEOK Field crowd on its feet and Cael Brockmeyer at the plate, Valdez missed outside with his first pitch before throwing his second to the backstop for a wild pitch, allowing Jackson to streak home with the winning run.
Early, the game did not appear it would such a dramatic ending as the Missions built a 5-2 lead through four innings. Neither of the starting pitchers made it past the fifth inning, making the two bullpens the story of the night.
The teams opened the first inning by trading runs. In the top of the first, a leadoff walk led to the first run of the game as San Antonio's Matthew Batten earned a four-pitch walk from Tulsa starting pitcher Ben Holmes. Batten came around to score on a double by Josh Naylor.
In the bottom of the first, Ruiz came through with his first big hit of the night. With two outs, the Tulsa catcher launched a ball high over the right field fence and into the Drillers bullpen to even things up at 1-1.
An inning later, Jacob Scavuzzo led off with a double. He promptly advanced to third on a groundout, and came around to score on a Brockmeyer's sacrifice fly to give Tulsa a 2-1 lead.
The Drillers lead did not last long. In the top of the third, an error and a single set up another Naylor double that brought home two Missions runs.
In the fourth, two singles and a double stretched the San Antonio lead to 5-2.
Tulsa began to chip away at the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Lux singled and Jackson walked to start the inning. Both advanced a base on a ground out, and D.J. Peters followed with a clutch single to cut the Drillers deficit to 5-4.
Andre Scrubb and Yadier Alvarez both provided two scoreless innings in relief for the Drillers. Karch Kowalczyk gave the Drillers an important inning in relief in the ninth inning, and gave the Drillers the opportunity to rally for two runs in the ninth.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*Lux has now hit safely in all seven postseason games for the Drillers. Dating back to the regular season, he has a season-high nine-game hitting streak.
*Starting pitcher Ben Holmes worked the four innings, marking his shortest outing of the season. The lefthander has gone at least six innings in six of his seven starts with the Drillers this season, including the playoffs.
*Naylor finished with three hits and two runs batted in for the Missions.
*It marks the second straight season that the Drillers have taken a 2 games to 0 lead in the TLCS. Last year, Midland rallied with three straight wins to claim its fourth straight title.
*Drillers fans can follow the action in San Antonio on The Buzz Sports Radio Network in Tulsa. Friday's game will air on AM 1300, while Saturday and Sunday's game will be heard on AM 1430 with Dennis Higgins calling all the action.
Fans outside of Tulsa may also listen live through the iHeart Radio app and tuning to either AM 1300 or AM1430.
Fans with a subscription to MiLB.tv can watch the action live.
The series will shift to San Antonio where the final games will be played and a new Texas League Champion will be crowned. First pitch for Game 3 is scheduled for 7:05 PM on Friday night at Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium, and the probable starting pitchers will be:
TUL Dustin May (2-2, 3.67 ERA)
SA Jesse Scholtens (7-4, 3.00 ERA)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.