The Dodgers appeared headed for a four-loss night in the minor leagues, until Triple-A Oklahoma City pulled a rabbit out of their hat in the home opener.
Player of the day
Great Lakes center fielder Brayan Morales was 1-for-2 with a double and a pair of walks, and also stole three bases. That included stealing second and third base in the sixth inning, inducing a throwing error on catcher Brady Policelli to score a run.
Morales is just five games this season already has six stolen bases without getting caught, while going 5-for-15 (.333) with three walks. The Dodgers drafted Morales in the 15th round in 2016 out of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla.
Speed is the name of the game for the 22-year-old Morales, who has 10 doubles and a triple in 252 minor league plate appearances, and no home runs. He also has a .367 career on-base percentage to help offset his .330 slugging percentage, and has 37 steals in 45 attempts for an 82.2% success rate.
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Down 7-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, OKC rallied for four runs and a walk-off win in the home opener against the Round Rock Express (Rangers). Jose Leclerc was brought in for the save but walked all four batters he faced to force in one run. Alex Verdugo singled home two to tie things up, then with two outs Travis Taijeron delivered an RBI single to give OKC the win.
Taijeron was 3-for-3 with a double and a walk in the game, and Max Muncy homered. Andrew Toles 2-for-4 with a double and a walk as the designated hitter and leadoff hitter.
In the sixth inning Verdugo picked up an outfield assist:
Round Rock's Jose Cardona tested Alex Verdugo's arm and lost. Ball got behind Verdugo in left on dive. Trying for triple, perfect throw easily nails him.— Jacob Unruh (@jacobunruh) April 11, 2018
Second assist in the last three games by Verdugo. And both throws have been absolute darts. https://t.co/iTaDCNDA58— Alex Freedman (@azfreedman) April 11, 2018
The Drillers were shut out on the road, falling 5-0 to the Midland RockHounds (A’s). Outfieler Kyle Garlick had two of Tulsa’s five hits, and catcher Will Smith had a double in three at-bats.
Dennis Santana allowed a two-run home run to Midland cleanup hitter Tyler Marincov in the first inning, then recovered to pitch five innings, striking out five. Santana took the loss.
Advanced Class-A Rancho Cucamonga
Tuesday was a pitcher’s duel in Stockton, with the Quakes coming out on the losing end 1-0 to the Ports (A’s). Dean Kremer struck out six in five scoreless innings in his second start of the season.
The lone run came in the eighth inning, after Isaac Anderson allowed a leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt moved the runner into scoring position. Andrew Istler entered in relief and threw a wild pitch, moving the runner to third, which allowed him to score on a sacrifice fly.
Class-A Great Lakes
The Loons were bludgeoned by the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers), 10-4. Aneurys Zabala was not scored upon in his first two relief appearances this season, including striking out six of his seven batters faced on opening day, but on Tuesday allowed four runs in his inning of work, all on a grand slam by first baseman Jordan Pearce.
Starling Heredia was 2-for-5 with an RBI in defeat, his fourth consecutive two-hit game.
Triple-A: Daniel Hudson joined Oklahoma City from extended spring training and pitched 1⅓ scoreless innings, with a walk and a strikeout. Hudson signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers last week.
Double-A: Brian Moran was sent from Oklahoma City to Tulsa, and allowed a run in his two-thirds of an inning in relief for the Drillers on Tuesday night, walking three of the six batters he faced.
3:35 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (TBA) at West Michigan (Brad Bass)
5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (Walker Buehler) vs. Round Rock (TBD)
7:10 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Andrew Sopko) at Stockton (Jesus Luzardo)
Tulsa is off Wednesday, and begins a seven-game homestand with Thursday’s home opener against Frisco (Rangers).