The Tulsa Drillers and Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, moved one game closer to winning their respective league championships on Tuesday. The Drillers walked-off to a 3-2 win over the San Antonio Missions. A little later in the evening, the Quakes got a go-ahead solo home run in the ninth inning and they won 5-4 over the Visalia Rawhide.
Game 2 will be played later tonight before each series take a travel day off on Thursday.
Players of the Game
Keibert Ruiz had been hitless in Game 1 but in the tenth inning, his ground ball single scored Gavin Lux. That run gave the Drillers a walk-off win and a 1-0 lead in their series.
Championship games call for two Players of the Game when I write these reports so I will name Quakes infielder Jared Walker as the other recipient of this coveted designation.
Walker had been hitless in the postseason, going 0-for-12 in his first five postseason games including this game where he was 0-for-2 with a walk. But in the ninth inning, Walker got his first hit, an opposite-field home run to give the Quakes the lead.
The Drillers didn’t do a lot for most of the game but they were able to put together some hits late and beat the San Antonio Missions (Padres) 3-2 in ten innings.
The win gives the Driller a 1-0 lead in the Best-of-5 series, they will have one last game at home tonight before heading to San Antonio for the rest of the series.
After scoring two runs on one hit through eight innings, the Drillers got a single in the bottom of the ninth but left the winning run in scoring position. In the tenth, pinch-hitter Logan Landon got an infield single but he was thrown on a force play when Gavin Lux tried to sacrifice him to second.
Drew Jackson lined a base hit up the middle to put runners on first and second with one out. Keibert Ruiz, who has been hitting well in the last two months, grounded a base hit to left which scored Lux and the Drillers walked off with the win.
Keibert walks it off!!! The Drillers upset @missionsmilb with 3-2 in G1 of the Texas League Championship Series!#DodgersNation #WALKOFF #DrillVille #MiLB #TexasLeagueChampionshipSeries pic.twitter.com/X0F1nrDjiC— Tulsa Drillers (@TulsaDrillers) September 12, 2018
Tony Gonsolin and Missions starter Michel Baez kept their teams in the game. Gonsolin was pitching to contact on Tuesday, recording only three strikeouts in six innings pitched.
Relievers Michael Johnson, Shea Spitzbarth and Layne Somsen combined to pitch four scoreless innings with Somsen getting the win.
The Drillers had to feel fortunate to get this win because they scored the first two runs on a wild pitch and hit batter respectively.
Class-A Rancho Cucamonga
The Quakes won 87 games in the regular season and then three more in the semi-finals. Now they need to win three more against the Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks) to complete an unbelievable year.
But the Rawhide also want to makes some history and they jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Quakes would tie the game, take a lead and then watch the Rawhide tie the game again as they headed to the ninth inning. But up came someone who defined the word “due” and he hit an opposite-field home run that would give the Quakes a 5-4 win and a 1-0 lead in this Best-of-5 series.
Jared Walker was 0-for-12 in the postseason when he came up in the ninth inning. Walker had hit 25 home runs in two minor-league stops in 2018. With one out in the inning, the left-handed Walker hit an opposite-field home run to break the tie and give the Quakes a one-run lead.
Dan Jagiello came in to pitch for the Quakes and he struck out the side to record the save.
Leo Crawford pitched a scoreless first inning but then he gave up three runs in the second inning. Despite the shaky second inning, Crawford pitched five innings and only gave up those three runs.
In the fifth inning, the Quakes tied the game on a three-run homer by Nick Yarnall. The Quakes would then go-ahead in the sixth inning when Riley Smith issued a bases-loaded walk to Walker that scored Cody Thomas.
The Quakes bullpen had pitched well in the last playoff series and after the Quakes took a one-run lead in the sixth, they appeared to be on a roll again. But Parker Curry gave up a solo home run in the seventh to Drew Ellis to tie the game at 4-4.
Curry would be the pitcher of record as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning thus when Walker hit the game-winner, Curry got the win.
Double-A: Tulsa placed left-handed pitcher Jason Richman on the 7-day disabled list. Tulsa activated infielder Wes Darvill from the 7-day disabled list.
5:05 p.m. PT: Tulsa (Ben Holmes) vs. San Antonio (Emmanuel Ramirez)
7:05 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Dennis Santana) at Visalia (Matt Peacock)