Heading into the ninth inning of Saturday night's contest with the Corpus Christi Hooks, it looked as if the Tulsa Drillers' three-game losing streak was coming to end.
But after Domingo Santana extended the game with a two-out, broken bat infield single and Jonathan Meyer walked, Hooks' right fielder Preston Tucker capped off his already memorable 23rd birthday.
Tucker turned Corpus Christi's one-run deficit into a one-run advantage with one swing of the bat, driving in both runners with a triple to deep left-center field. Before the inning was over, the Hooks tacked on another run sending the Drillers to a heartbreaking 4-2 loss at ONEOK Field.
The victim of Corpus Christi's comeback was Tulsa closer Cole White, who had converted nine consecutive save opportunities, suffered his second blown save of the season, along with his third loss.
Saturday's pitching matchup, which featured two Texas League All-Stars in Tyler Matzek and David Martinez, did not disappoint. In a rematch of last Sunday's pitcher's duel, both Matzek and Martinez were outstanding but settled for no decisions.
Matzek surrendered just one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out two and walking two, while Martinez allowed one run on eight hits over 5.2 innings of work.
Tucker, who celebrated his birthday in style with a two-hit, three-RBI performance, opened the game's scoring with a solo home run to lead off the second inning. The long ball was the right fielder's first since being promoted to Double A on June 26.
Going into the game, Tucker led all of Minor League Baseball with 76 runs batted in, 74 of which he collected while playing for the Class A Advanced Lancaster JetHawks of the California League.
The Hooks' lead held until the home half of the sixth. Dustin Garneau led off with a line drive single into left field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Angelys Nina. After a groundout by Jayson Langfels advanced the catcher to third, Jaron Shepherd laced a double down the left field line to score Garneau and tie the game at 1-1.
The Drillers would go on to take the lead an inning later when Kiel Roling led off the eighth with his 18th home run. Roling finished the game 3-4 and looked to have produced the game winner before the Hooks rally in the final inning.
In the ninth, Jorge De Leon retired Cristhian Adames, Roling and Kyle Parker in order to record his second save of the season.
With their fourth straight loss, the Drillers fell to 41-43 overall and 7-9 in the second half of the season.
The Drillers and Hooks will be back in action Sunday night for game two of their three-game series. Sean Gallagher (4-2, 1.76 ERA) heads to the mound for Tulsa against Nick Tropeano (2-6, 4.40 ERA), who will be making his first start for Corpus Christi since coming off the disabled list. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM.
Game Note: While Saturday night's loss extended the Drillers losing streak to four games, it marked the end of their consecutive sellout streak at ONEOK Field. With a crowd of 6,598, Tulsa's four-day attendance increased to 31,390.