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Oklahoma City takes opener behind Cristian Santana's home run

The two teams combined for just eight hits

Los Angeles Dodgers Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On a night when baserunners were scarce, Cristian Santana provided a two-run homer in the fifth inning and the pitching staff made it hold up. Oklahoma City took the opener of the final series in 2021, defeating El Paso (Padres) 2-1 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

The Dodgers are now 4-2 in the Triple-A Final Stretch with four games to play.

Only four pitchers were needed for either side Wednesday in a pitcher’s duel. Aaron Wilkerson tossed seven innings for Oklahoma City with just an unearned run on his tally. The 32-year-old allowed just four hits and no walks while striking out seven, with the only run coming across on a passed ball in the sixth inning.

Jesse Scholtens pitched his best game of the year for the Chihuahuas, going the full eight innings in a losing effort. The right-hander held OKC to four hits and no walks, striking out seven along the way. Three of those four hits came in the fifth inning.

Luke Raley started the frame with a bunt single that set the stage for the deciding blast. Santana smoked an 0-1 pitch that Scholtens left up over the heart of the plate, clearing the center field fence to break a scoreless tie.

It was Santana’s eighth homer of the season to bring his team-leading hit total to 102 this season. 74 of the 102 hits have been singles, which explains the low OPS (.789) while hitting .317 on the year. He has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games with an at-bat, going 26-for-66 (.394) with three homers, five doubles, 18 RBI and 10 runs scored.

Kevin Quackenbush and his burly beard came on in the ninth for the right-hander’s 22nd save of the season to secure the win.

Notes from OKC

  • Wednesday’s game lasted 2 hours, 5 minutes for the Dodgers’ shortest nine-inning game of the season. The team’s previous shortest nine-inning game of the season was June 19 at Round Rock (2:16). Wednesday marked the Dodgers’ shortest nine-inning game overall since May 22, 2018 against Memphis in a contest that lasted 1 hour, 54 minutes.

Wednesday’s boxscore

Oklahoma City 2, El Paso 1

What’s next

The Dodgers and Chihuahuas continue the five-game series at 5:05 p.m. PT in Oklahoma City. The Dodgers will send Austin Bibens-Dirkx (10-6, 5.23) to the mound against Pedro Avila (1-0 3.22).