An early seven-run deficit proved too much for the Oklahoma City RedHawks to overcome Thursday night as the Salt Lake Bees earned a series split with an 8-5 victory in front of 6,047 fans at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
The Bees scored seven runs in the first and second inning off RedHawks starter David Martinez before veteran pitcher Joel Pineiro and two relievers held off Oklahoma City.
The RedHawks brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth in the form of red-hot third baseman Matt Duffy, who homered for the fifth time in the series in the second inning, but he hit into a game-ending double play.
TUCKER DEBUTS, SINGLES
The Houston Astros promoted outfielder Preston Tucker to the RedHawks from Double-A Corpus Christi before Thursday’s game, and the 23-year-old made his debut in right field.
He went 1 for 4 with a single and run, while striking out twice and avoiding injury in the fourth inning when he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Gregorio Petit in foul territory while on third base.
Tucker, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, was leading the Texas League in five offensive categories, including home runs (17) and RBIs (43).
To make room for him on Oklahoma City’s roster, the Astros traded Adron Chambers to Toronto in exchange for Alejandro Solarte and Will Dupont.
MARTINEZ’S BRICKTOWN STRUGGLES CONTINUE
Martinez continued struggling at home, allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings.
He entered the game with a 6.63 ERA and opponents were batting .315 off him at The Brick. On the road, he sports a 2.25 ERA and has held opponents to a .182 average.
“He made a lot of mistakes up over the plate,” RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “It had nothing to do with the home field. You’ve got to execute pitches and he didn’t do it tonight.”
The RedHawks open a four-game set Friday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark against the Las Vegas 51s, the affiliate of the New York Mets.
Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer will start for OKC for just the second time this month. He is 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA in three starts this season in the minors.
Las Vegas will start right-hander Logan Verrett (5-2, 4.88).