AMARILLO, TX - The Tulsa Drillers ended a three-game losing streak Friday night in Amarillo, and it took several heroes. Devin Mann led the way with two home runs, marking the third straight game that a Tulsa player has hit two homers. On the mound, starting pitcher Michael Grove turned
AMARILLO, TX - The Tulsa Drillers ended a three-game losing streak Friday night in Amarillo, and it took several heroes. Devin Mann led the way with two home runs, marking the third straight game that a Tulsa player has hit two homers. On the mound, starting pitcher Michael Grove turned in five innings for just the second time this season to pick up his first professional victory, and Aaron Ochsenbein came on to get the final out and record his team-leading eighth save of the season, preserving an 8-7 win for the Drillers.
The victory kept Tulsa within five games of first-place Wichita in the Double-A Central standings, and to within 2.5 games of second-place Arkansas. Only the league’s top two teams will qualify for postseason play.
The Drillers scored the first five runs of the game, opening the scoring in the second inning. Hunter Feduccia led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly from Mann.
They added to their lead with two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. Mann opened the fourth with his first home run of the game to up the lead to 2-0. Ryan Noda followed with a base hit, advanced to second on a wild pitch and came home on a single by Jacob Amaya.
In the fifth, Mann walked with two outs and Noda followed with his team-leading 27th home run of the season to increase the lead to 5-0.
Starting pitcher Grove did not allow a run and just one hit through the first four innings before the Sod Poodles offense came to life in the fifth. With one out in fifth, Dominic Canzone hit a solo home run. One batter later, Dominic Miroglio did the same to cut the Tulsa lead to 5-2.
Michael Busch tripled and scored on a double by Miguel Vargas in the top of the sixth, but Amarillo responded with three runs in the bottom half of the sixth.
Bryan Brickhouse took over for Grove to open the sixth and the inning began Eduardo Diaz doubled off the glove of Mann in right field. The play was originally called an error but was later changed to a hit. With Diaz at second Geraldo Perdomo followed with a tape-measure home run that cleared the right field berm, cutting Tulsa’s lead to 6-4.
Later in the inning, Buddy Kennedy tripled and scored on a ground out from Dominic Fletcher, making it a one-run game.
Mann came up big in the top of the ninth to deliver a pair of insurance runs for the Drillers. After Vargas doubled, Mann hit his second homer of the night with a drive that cleared the centerfield fence, upping Tulsa’s lead to 8-5. It marked the second straight game with two home runs for Mann.
The homer proved enormous as Amarillo hit a pair of homers in the bottom of the ninth off Guillermo Zuniga. Andy Yerzy homered with one out, and Luis Alejandro Basabe did the same with two outs.
Basabe’s homer forced the Drillers to bring in Ochsenbein from the bullpen, and the Drillers saves leader came through, striking out Perdomo on a full-count pitch to end the game.
*It was the second straight game that Mann hit two homers and the third straight game overall for the Drillers as James Outman hit two in Wednesday's game. It is the eleventh time this season that a Tulsa batter has hit two homers in a game, and it is the third time that Mann has done it. He finished Friday's game a perfect 2-2 with three runs scored, four runs batted in and two stolen bases.
*Noda entered the game hitless in his last 13 at-bats, but he broke out of the slump with three hits. His home run was his first since August 28.
*Busch extended his hitting streak to seven straight games, going 2-3. In the streak, he is hitting .556 (15-27).
*Grove recorded his first professional win after allowing just two runs on three hits with five strikeouts in five innings. He now has a 2.25 ERA over his last three starts.
*The game featured a total of eight home runs, five from Amarillo.
*The two teams have now played three straight one-run games.
The Drillers and Sod Poodles will continue their six-game series on Saturday, September 11 at 7:05 p.m. at Amarillo’s HODGETOWN.
The pitching matchup will feature Tulsa RHP Gus Varland (1-3, 3.98) against Amarillo RHP Bryce Jarvis (1-2, 6.04 ERA).