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Express Start Hot, Take 2-0 Lead Over Dodgers

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A huge first inning by the Round Rock Express built a deficit the Oklahoma City Dodgers were unable to overcome in a 7-1 loss to the Express Thursday night in Game 2 of the American Conference Finals at Dell Diamond.

The Express scored six runs in the first inning on their way to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five playoff series between the teams.

After a delayed start of 28 minutes due to rain in the area, the Express quickly took the lead in the bottom of the first inning.

With one out, Thomas Field hit a solo home run to center field to put Round Rock on the scoreboard. The next three Express batters reached base on a single, hit by pitch and walk, to load the bases for Ryan Rua. Rua then hit a RBI groundout toward first base to bring home the second run of the night for the Express.

Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias walked the next batter to re-load the bases for the Express and Beamer Weems.

Weems then belted a grand slam on a fly ball to left field – the third grand slam allowed by the Dodgers overall this season – to boost Round Rock to a 6-0 advantage.

Urias (0-1) exited the game after one inning. In his third Triple-A start, the 19-year-old pitcher allowed six runs on three hits, walked two and recorded one strikeout and was charged with the loss. He threw 35 pitches in the first inning before being replaced by Deck McGuire on the mound for Oklahoma City.

The Dodgers’ Kyle Jensen quickly got Oklahoma City on the scoreboard, connecting on a home run to left field to lead off the top of the second inning and cut Round Rock’s lead to 6-1.

The Dodgers had several chances to add to their run total throughout the night, but were unable to do so.

Oklahoma City loaded the bases with one out for Jensen in the third inning, but Jensen struck out on three pitches. Lars Anderson then grounded out to end the threat.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Dodgers put two men on base with none out on back-to-back singles by Elliot Johnson and Jose Tabata, but once again were unable to bring home a run.

The Express pitching staff went on to retire 16 straight Dodgers batters.

Round Rock added a run to its lead in the sixth inning with back-to-back two-out doubles by Weems and Jared Hoying to go ahead, 7-1.

Round Rock starting pitcher Anthony Ranaudo (1-0) earned the win. He held the Dodgers to one run and six hits over seven innings, issued two walks and struck out three. Three of Round Rock’s five wins against the Dodgers in the regular season also came in starts by Ranaudo. Reliever Jimmy Reyes held Oklahoma City to one hit over the final two innings.

Dodgers pitcher McGuire kept the Express to one run and four hits over five innings of long relief with seven strikeouts. Carlos Frias held Round Rock scoreless and hitless over the final two frames.

With Thursday’s loss, Oklahoma City has now lost 10 straight playoff games. The team’s last playoff win came Sept. 10, 2008 in Game 2 of the PCL Championship Series at Sacramento, 11-2. Oklahoma City was swept in the first round the last two times the team qualified for the playoffs in 2010 and 2013.

With the Dodgers’ season now on the line, the first-round playoff series now shifts to Oklahoma City. A must-win Game 3 for the Dodgers begins at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Fireworks, presented by Francis Tuttle Technology Center, are scheduled to follow the game.

Games 4 and 5 of the series will follow, if necessary, at 7:05 p.m. Saturday and at 2:05 p.m. Sunday in Oklahoma City. Fireworks, presented by Francis Tuttle Technology Center, are slated to follow Saturday’s game. Sunday is a Chaparral Energy Family Sunday with many family fun activities available, including pregame player autographs, and kids can run the bases after the game. 

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