Jose De Leon struck out 10 batters over eight scoreless innings, leading the Oklahoma City Dodgers to a 7-0 shutout over the Tacoma Rainiers Wednesday night at Cheney Stadium.
De Leon (3-0) set a new career high with eight innings and allowed just four hits – all singles. He began his night by retiring 17 of the first 18 batters he faced, with a run of 16 straight at one point. After yielding a one-out single to Rob Brantly in the first inning, De Leon then sat down the 19 of the next 20 Tacoma batters until an infield single by Patrick Kivlehan in the seventh inning.
For the second straight start, De Leon struck out 10 batters. It was the fifth double-digit strikeout game by an OKC pitcher this season, as well as the 13th double-digit strikeout game of De Leon’s career. He did not allow a walk and threw 80 of his 105 pitches for strikes.
The Rainiers (55-41) only mildly threatened to score against De Leon twice. With one out in the first inning, Brantly singled and went to second base on a fielding error, but De Leon struck out the next two batters. In the eighth, Tyler Smith and Guillermo Heredia hit back-to-back singles with two outs, but De Leon concluded his outing by getting Brantly to fly out.
Making his first appearance for OKC this season, reliever Ralston Cash worked around two walks in the ninth inning to complete the blanking. It’s the Dodgers’ seventh shutout of the season, but the first since a 1-0 win over Salt Lake on May 20.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Dodgers (54-42) and an eight-game winning streak for the Rainiers. It also marked the end of an eight-game skid in Tacoma, as the team won for the first time at Cheney Stadium since Aug. 2, 2012 – a 7-1 RedHawks victory.
The Dodgers offense provided more than enough run support for De Leon, thanks to two big innings. They jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning on four extra-base hits. Micah Johnson led off the game with a double, and two batters later, Will Venable lined another double to make it 1-0. Austin Barnes followed Venable with a two-run homer to left field to give OKC a three-run advantage.
In the sixth inning, the Dodgers batted around and scored four times. Alex Hassan brought home the first run with a RBI double. Later with runners at second and third and two outs, Venable hit a grounder to left side of the infield. Smith fielded the ball, but Venable beat the throw to first base. Drew Maggi, who began the play at second base, never stopped running and beat first baseman D.J. Peterson’s throw the plate, making it 6-0. Rob Segedin finished the rally with a RBI single.
The Dodgers tallied 12 hits and tied their season high with five doubles. Maggi, Venable, Segedin, and Hassan collected two hits apiece. Venable had a game-high three RBI and scored twice. As a team, the Dodgers went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position after going 4-for-22 over the first two games of the series.
The Rainiers (55-41) put three runners in scoring position throughout the game, but never had a runner reach as far as third base. The Dodgers pitching staff held Tacoma 1-for-9 with runners on base, including 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, as the Rainiers were shutout for the first time since April 26.
Tacoma starting pitcher Cody Martin entered Wednesday having allowed just three runs over his past five starts combined, spanning 32.0 innings. The Dodgers nicked Martin (8-6) for five runs and a season-high 10 hits over 5.1 innings. He finished with five strikeouts and no walks.
The Dodgers finish their West Coast road swing against the Rainiers Thursday night at 9:05 p.m. Central time. Live coverage begins 15 minutes before the scheduled first pitch on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com, or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.