Three Dodgers who made their major league debut this season did the heavy lifting on Wednesday in leading Triple-A Oklahoma City to a 5-2 win over Round Rock (Rangers), sweeping the Pacific Coast League championship series in two games.
Gavin Stone struck out 10 in his 6⅓ innings, allowing only a pair of runs.
Jonny DeLuca hit a two-run home run in the second inning and Michael Busch slammed a three-run shot in the fifth to break the game open.
The title is the fifth in franchise history for Oklahoma City, which began play in 1962. They last won a championship in 1996 as part of the then-Triple-A American Association as a Rangers affiliate, for whom they also won a title in 1992. Oklahoma City also won as part of the Pacific Coast League in 1963 and 1965, when they were an Astros farm team.
Things could have gone off the rails in the first inning for Stone, who began the game by allowing a single and two walks. But he got out of the jam with a force-play groundout at home and two strikeouts, and retired his next nine batters in a row.
After a fourth-inning solo home run, Stone retired his next nine in a row to get through the sixth inning. A leadoff single and one-out double brought in a second run and ended Stone’s night, but he ended his night and season in style.
Gavin Stone is up to strikeouts tonight! pic.twitter.com/ZpGdNfQ47r— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) September 28, 2023
Since the beginning of July, in his final 10 appearances in Triple-A this season, Stone had a 2.53 ERA with 66 strikeouts and 18 walks in 53⅓ innings with a 31.4-percent strikeout rate.
Ricky Vanasco retired all five batters he faced with two strikeouts to get through the eighth, then Wander Suero worked around a single in the ninth to close out the PCL title.
Suero was on a rehab assignment until Tuesday, when he was activated off the injured list on his first day eligible to return, and simultaneously optioned to Triple-A. Suero was sidelined since September 11 with lower back tightness.
Home runs: Jonny DeLuca, Michael Busch; Blaine Crim
WP — Gavin Stone: 6⅓ IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
LP — Owen White: 4⅓ IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Sv — Wander Suero: 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
As PCL champs, Oklahoma City will next face the International League winners in a one-game Triple-A championship on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The International League title will be decided on Thursday night between the Durham Bulls (Rays) and Norfolk Tides (Orioles).