The Tulsa Drillers dropped their second straight game since the end of the Texas League All-Star break and their fifth overall with a 5-4 loss Saturday night in San Antonio. The defeat spoiled a big night by outfielder Kent Matthes who went 2-4 with 3 runs batted in.
Tulsa opened the scoring in the second when first baseman Ben Paulsen doubled on a fly ball to left field. Matthes followed with a ground ball through the hole between shortstop and third base to plate Paulsen.
The lead disappeared in the bottom half of the second inning when the Missions answered with three runs on five hits. After a leadoff double by Cody Decker and consecutive groundouts to Nolan Arenado, the Missions were able to hit safely in their next four plate appearances. Jeudy Valdez hit his sixth homer of the season just to the right of the 402 sign in centerfield scoring Decker.
Three straight singles by Robert Kral, pitcher Hayden Beard and Reymond Fuentes plated another run for the Missions before Dean Anna grounded out to Tulsa second baseman Josh Rutledge to end the inning.
After three scoreless innings from both teams, Tulsa struck again in the top of the sixth. Corey Dickerson started the inning with a walk and advanced to third after the fly out by Arenado and Paulsen's ground ball single to right field.
Matthes picked up his second RBI of the night when he grounded out, plating Dickerson. Matthes was stranded at third when Mike Mitchell struck out to end the inning.
Once again, San Antonio answered in the bottom of the sixth. Tulsa starter Parker Frazier caught some bad luck in the inning when a fly ball hit by Liriano into short right field that Kent Matthes never saw.
The next batter, Valdez, grounded to shortstop Warren Schaeffer who looked to third and thought about attempting to throw out Liriano. Schaeffer realized he couldn't get the out and threw to first and was unable to get the out at first either.
Kral came to the plate and hit a deep fly ball to centerfield that scored Liriano.
T.J. Steele pinch hit for Beard and doubled on a ground ball to the warning track in right field, scoring Valdez to make the score 5-2.
The Drillers cut the lead to one run in the eighth when Rutledge led off the eighth with his 23rd double of the season. Dickerson followed with a ground-rule double to right center field scoring Rutledge.
After Arenado and Paulsen struck out swinging, Matthes doubled to right field to score Dickerson to make the score 5-4.
It would be as close as the Drillers would get as Mitchell struck out to end the eight and Daniel Stange worked a scoreless ninth to close out the ninth for the Missions.
The Drillers will look to salvage the final game of their three-game series with the Missions Sunday night. Tulsa will send Cory Riordan to the mound for his first start of the 2012 season to try to avoid the sweep before heading to Corpus Christi for a three game series against the Hooks.
Sunday night's game at San Antonio is slated for a 6:05 start at Nelson Wolff Stadium.