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Keibert Ruiz homers twice as prospects shine

Oklahoma City and Rancho Cucamonga extend winning streaks on Monday

Keibert Ruiz
Keibert Ruiz
Rich Crimi

Oklahoma City had an historic undefeated homestand, Tulsa won behind excellent play from a number of prospects and Rancho Cucamonga collected their fourth straight win.

Player of the day

Just like Sunday, several players could qualify for Monday’s honor but the pick here is Keibert Ruiz on the Tulsa Drillers.

In the prior week, Ruiz had gone 2-for-22 with no extra-base hits and five strikeouts. On Monday, Ruiz went 2-for-5 with his first two home runs of the season and four RBI.

Triple-A Oklahoma City

The Dodgers will win more games at home this season but memories of their first home stand of the season will linger long after the 2018 season ends. The New Orleans Baby Cakes (Marlins) may not want to remember their first trip to Oklahoma City as they fell victim to a four-game sweep and the last three of those losses were walk-offs.

On Monday night, trailing by a run going to the bottom of the tenth inning, the Dodgers loaded the bases with none out. Henry Ramos, who had two grand slams in this series, came up and delivered a sharp single that scored two runs for 8-7 the win.

Alex Verdugo, who had hit the walk-off home run on Sunday, homered in his third straight game last night. Last season, Verdugo hit his third home run on June 14th.

It was not a well-played game by the Dodgers, they made five errors, also a passed ball from catcher Rocky Gale was a key part in how the Baby Cakes scored in the top of the tenth inning.

Walker Buehler started and pitched four innings. Buehler gave up two runs (one earned), three hits and walked two. Buehler struck out five. Adam Liberatore pitched the next two innings and did not give up a run.

Both C.C. Lee and Joe Broussard gave up runs in their appearances. After a scoreless ninth inning, Pat Venditte came in and gave up the go-ahead run to the Baby Cakes. But the magic would not end on Monday as Henry Ramos continued to give New Orleans trouble whenever he came up with bases loaded.

Double-A Tulsa

The Drillers won 6-4 over the Midland RockHounds (Athletics). As noted above, Keibert Ruiz had a very good game but he wasn’t the only one.

Dennis Santana started and struck out 10 in 4⅓ innings. In 14 innings pitched thus far in 2018, Santana has allowed three runs, eight hits and walked three. Santana has 22 strikeouts this season.

He struck out eight batters in a row at one point Monday, setting a professional baseball record in Tulsa, which dates back to 1905. Santana broke the previous record of seven straight strikeouts held by Dave Righetti and David Perez.

DJ Peters also homered, his fourth home run of the season. In 50 plate appearances, he is hitting .362/.400/.660. It is also encouraging that he has struck out just 13 times but again the sample size is small.

And Will Smith went 3-for-3; in 38 plate appearances this season, he has a 1.037 OPS.

One last name to bring up is right-handed reliever Josh Sborz, who pitched in relief at Virginia and then made 24 starts for Tulsa last year. So far in 2018, Sborz has been the closer.

In 6⅔ innings, Sborz has given up an unearned run, three hits and two walks while striking out nine. In the five games he has pitched in, Sborz has one win and three saves.

Class-A Rancho Cucamonga

The Quakes went to a windy and cold Lancaster and they continued their winning ways to beat the JetHawks (Rockies) 4-1. The win extended their winning streak to four games and evened their season at 6-6.

Andrew Sopko finished one out short to qualifying for the win; in the 4⅔ innings he pitched, he gave up one run and three hits. Sopko struck out six and walked three.

Jason Richman pitched the next 2⅔ scoreless innings to get the win and Ryan Moseley recorded the final five outs for the save.

Jeren Kendall had two hits including a double but the his biggest play was reportedly catching a deep fly ball to end the game.

Despite five errors by the JetHawks, the Quakes could not capitalize on those mistakes but the Quakes pitching and defense did a good job keeping the JetHawks attack quiet on Monday.

Class-A Great Lakes

The Loons were off on Monday, they start their series at Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres) today.


Triple-A: Infielder Angelo Mora assigned to Oklahoma City from Tulsa.

Double-A: Right-handed pitcher Emmanuel De Leon assigned to Tulsa from Ogden.

Class-A: Right-handed pitcher Jeremiah Muhammad assigned to Rancho Cucamonga.

Monday’s scores

Oklahoma City 8, New Orleans 7 (10)

Tulsa 6, Midland 4

Rancho Cucamonga 4, Lancaster 1

Tuesday’s schedule

4:05 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (Melvin Jiminez) at Fort Wayne [Padres] (Nick Margevicius)

5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (Manny Bañuelos) at Round Rock [Rangers] (Yohander Méndez)

5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (Caleb Ferguson) vs. Midland (Corey Walter)

6:35 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Jordan Sheffield) at Lancaster (Trey Killian)