Redbirds Fly Away from Dodgers, 7-2

Wednesday, June 28th 2017, 11:44 pm
By: News 9

Luke Weaver dealt six scoreless innings and the Memphis Redbirds hit three home runs, sending the Oklahoma City Dodgers to a 7-2 defeat Wednesday night at AutoZone Park.

With the win, the Redbirds (47-31) snapped their first three-game losing skid in two months and brought an end to the Dodgers’ six-game winning streak.

Weaver (7-1) was spectacular on the mound for the Memphis, keeping the Dodgers off the board throughout his start. He began his night by retiring 13 of the first 14 batters he faced and did not allow a hit until there was one out in the fifth inning. Weaver ended his outing by leaving the bases loaded and became the third pitcher in the PCL to seven wins this season. He notched six strikeouts and issued two walks.

Over the four previous meetings between the teams entering Wednesday, the Dodgers (44-33) had held the Redbirds to a total of four runs and three extra-base hits, with no home runs. The Redbirds bucked the trend, tallying seven runs on 11 hits, including five for extra bases, and three home runs. After going 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position in those four games against OKC, the Redbirds went 3-for-6 Wednesday.

The Redbirds jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead two batters into the bottom the first inning. Todd Cunningham led off with a double, and Chad Huffman followed with a two-run homer to left field. It was the first time in 10 games against Memphis the Dodgers served up a home run.

Dodgers starting pitcher Trevor Oaks regained his footing after the early homer, retiring the next seven consecutive batters, nine of the next 11, and 13 of the next 16 to keep the Dodgers still down just 2-0 through five innings.

The Dodgers didn’t collect a hit until Drew Maggi lined a double off the left field wall with one out in the fifth inning. Jose Miguel Fernandez came up next and hit a comebacker to Weaver, and Maggi was eventually tagged out in between second and third base.

Weaver encountered his first true jam in the sixth inning. With one out, Alex Verdugo singled to extend his career-long hitting streak to 18 games. Max Muncy followed with a double to put runners at second and third base. Weaver got O’Koyea Dickson to pop out on the first pitch before intentionally walking Willie Calhoun to load the bases. Scott Van Slyke came up and next and tapped a ball off the plate to the left side of the infield. Weaver sprinted off the mound toward the third base line, barehanded the ball and threw to first base all in one motion to nab Van Slyke and end the inning.

Oaks was lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh inning with Redbirds still in front, 2-0. In the bottom of the inning, with a runner on and two out, Alberto Rosario sent a ground ball toward the middle. Maggi fielded the ball and flipped to Fernandez at second base, but Fernandez’s foot was not on the bag, keeping the inning alive. Pinch hitter Rangel Ravelo followed with a RBI single to push the lead to 3-0.

OKC cut the lead to one in the top of the eighth inning. Verdugo singled and two batters later, Dickson was hit by a pitch. With Calhoun at the plate, Verdugo took off for third base. Memphis pitcher Josh Lucas’ throw was wild, going into foul territory. Verdugo scored and Dickson ended up at third base as a result of the play. Calhoun followed with a RBI single to get the Dodgers within 3-2. With the tying run at first, Lucas retired the next two batters to keep Memphis in the lead.

The Redbirds put the game away in the bottom of the inning, scoring four runs after the first two batters were retired. Both Harrison Bader and Wilfredo Tovar hit two-run homers to stretch Memphis’ lead to 7-2. Each home run was hit off Dodgers reliever Justin Marks, who had not allowed a home run this season with OKC and just one home run overall in 2017.

Over the previous five games, the OKC bullpen had allowed just one run and seven hits over 16.0 innings. On Wednesday, the Redbirds scored five runs on six hits over two innings against Marks and Jacob Rhame. During the previous five games overall, the Dodgers had surrendered eight total runs and one home run before giving up seven runs and three homers Wednesday.

Oaks (4-3) pitched well but ended up with the loss. Over six innings, Oaks allowed two runs and five hits, with one walk and two strikeouts. He recorded 11 groundouts, including a pair of ground ball double plays. It marked his sixth consecutive quality start and eighth consecutive start of at least six innings.

The Dodgers still have a chance to win the series when they finish their four-game set in Memphis at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night at AutoZone Park. Live coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on AM 1340 "The Game,", or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.