The final minor league game of 2023 ended on a bit of a sour note for the Oklahoma City Dodgers, who lost the Triple-A championship to the Norfolk Tides (Orioles) 7-6 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Down five runs in the ninth inning, Oklahoma City mounted a furious comeback, scoring four runs with two outs.
Jorbit Vivas walked to open the frame, advanced to second base on defensive indifference, then scored on a single by Drew Avans. Michael Busch followed by obliterating a ball well beyond the right field wall for a two-run home run, pulling Oklahoma City within two runs.
Busch also doubled and walked in the game. Miguel Vargas followed with a home run of his own, to pull OKC to within a run.
But they couldn’t score the equalizer, as Norfolk right-hander Joey Krehbiel struck out Ryan Ward to end the game.
Oklahoma City led 2-1 in the seventh inning, when left-hander Alec Gamboa allowed a double and two walks to load the bases before Colton Cowser took him way deep for a grand slam that turned the game around.
Gamboa was the fifth pitcher of the night in what was a bullpen game for Oklahoma City.
Yency Almonte started for Oklahoma City, in his first game action since August 11. The right-hander has been sidelined for seven weeks with a right knee sprain. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said last week that the earliest Almonte might be activated, if at all, is the National League Championship Series, which starts on October 16.
Almonte gave up a single and walk but struck out two for a scoreless frame.
John Rooney allowed a run but struck out three in his two innings, but Tyson Miller pitched two scoreless innings and Bryan Hudson followed with a perfect sixth inning.
Hunter Feduccia tied the game at 1-1 in the fifth inning with a solo home run, his second homer this postseason. Feduccia had two hits on the night.
Oklahoma City grabbed its first lead in the sixth when Vargas led off with a double and Jonny DeLuca singled him home one out later.
DeLuca also made this excellent diving catch in right field to rob Norfolk of an extra-base hit in the eighth inning.
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Jonny! pic.twitter.com/uOm3gCyISW— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) October 1, 2023
Oklahoma City got the tying run to the plate with two outs in the seventh, but Bryan Baker struck out Vargas to end the threat, and followed with three more strikeouts in a perfect eighth inning.
Connor Norby hit a two-run home run in the ninth off Tanner Dodson to provide necessary insurance for Norfolk, because Oklahoma City rallied late.
Victor González was recalled to the Dodgers. Yency Almonte joined Oklahoma City on a rehab assignment.
Home runs: Hunter Feduccia, Michael Busch, Miguel Vargas; Colton Cowser, Connor Norby
WP — T.J. McFarland: 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
LP — Alec Gamboa: ⅔ IP, 2 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks
Sv — Joey Krehbiel: ⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 strikeout