RoughRiders Top Drillers to Spoil Gray's Debut

Jo Jo Gray suffered the loss in his Double-A debut despite opening with five impressive innings. (Tim Campbell)

By Tulsa Drillers | July 18, 2019 10:59 PM

TULSA - The Tulsa Drillers had been perfect against Frisco this season, sweeping their first two series with the RoughRiders and winning the first seven meetings between the two teams. In the last two nights, the Riders have gained a measure of revenge. Thursday night at ONEOK Field, Frisco won its second straight game over the Drillers with a 4-2 win.


The loss spoiled the Double-A debut for Jo Jo Gray. The right-handed pitcher, who was acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the trade with Cincinnati that sent Yasiel Puig to the Reds, is rated as 17th-best prospect in LA's minor league system.


Frisco countered on the mound with Tyler Phillips, who is rated as the 14th-best prospect in the Texas Rangers system.


The two prospects did not disappoint as each opened the game with five shutout innings before Frisco put an end to the dual shutout in the sixth. With one out, Yonny Hernandez drew the only walk of the night from Gray, stole second base and raced to third when the pitch went to the backstop. On a full-count offering, rehabbing Texas Rangers catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa plated Hernandez with the first run of the night when he grounded a single into left field.


Preston Beck and Andretty Cordero followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases and end Gray's debut. Yordy Cabrera was summoned from the Tulsa bullpen and struck out Eliezer Alvarez before Ryan Dorow grounded a two-out single into left field to bring home two more runs and increase the Frisco lead to 3-0.


Errol Robinson quickly got one of the runs back when he led off the bottom of the sixth with his first Double-A homer of the season.


The Drillers moved closer in the bottom of the seventh. The red-hot Cristian Santana led off with a double, ending Phillips' night. Keibert Ruiz scored Santana with a one-out single off reliever Walker Weickel, cutting the Riders lead to just 3-2.


Tulsa would get no closer as the Riders promptly responded with a run in the eighth against reliever Andre Scrubb.


The Drillers were held without a hit in their final two at-bats by relievers Jacob Lemoine and Demarcus Evans, as the RoughRiders closed out their second straight win.



*Gray was outstanding early, blanking the Riders through the first five innings while allowing just one hit without issuing a walk. The tough sixth inning left his final line at 5.1 innings pitched with 3 runs allowed on 5 hits. Gray issued just the 1 walk while striking out 4. The loss was the first of the year for the right-hander who was a perfect 8-0 at two stops in Single-A before joining the Drillers.


*Cristian Santana had two more hits and has now hit safely in 17 of his past 18 games, dating back to June 30. In that stretch, he is hitting .387 (29-75).


*Phillips picked up his third win of the season for the RoughRiders. His final line was 6.0+ innings pitched with 2 runs allowed on 4 hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out 3.


*Robinson finished a perfect 2-2 at the plate.


*Despite the loss, Tulsa remained just two games behind first-place Arkansas in the Texas League's North Division standings. The Travelers were beaten by Midland.

UP NEXT:  Midland at Tulsa, Friday, July 19, 7:05 PM at ONEOK Field. RHP Daulton Jefferies (0-1, 4.11 ERA) versus RHP Edwin Uceta (1-2, 5.00 ERA).


This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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