Drew Robinson drove in three early runs, and the Round Rock Express kept the Oklahoma City Dodgers scoreless after the first inning, surviving an eventful ninth inning in a 3-2 victory Sunday night at Dell Diamond.
For the first time in six meetings at home, the Express (30-25) defeated the Dodgers. With the loss, the Dodgers (27-27) fell back to .500 and lost for the fourth time in the last five games, as well as for the 11th time in the last 14 games.
Between the second and eighth innings, the Dodgers were held scoreless with just one hit, but they still trailed by only one run heading to the ninth inning. The Dodgers put the tying run at third base twice in the ninth inning, but were unable to score.
On the first pitch of the ninth, Rob Segedin doubled off the right field wall. Corey Brown then grounded out, allowing Segedin to advance to third base with one out. O’Koyea Dickson walked, bringing Micah Johnson up to the plate.
Johnson put a bunt down to the right side of the infield. Round Rock pitcher Alex Claudio came off the mound, bare-handed the ball, and flipped it home. Catcher Patrick Cantwell put the tag on a sliding Segedin in time to record the second out.
With runners at first and second base with two outs, pinch runner Charlie Culberson stole third base. With the count at 1-2 to Brandon Hicks, Johnson took off for second base, but Claudio threw to first. After Johnson was in a brief rundown, first baseman Joey Gallo threw to third base, but Culberson was able get back to the base safely, putting the tying run at third base and the go-ahead run at second base.
Hicks was able to work the count to 2-2 and foul off a pair of two-strike pitches, but Claudio struck him out to end the game, as Claudio earned his first save.
Entering the ninth inning, the Dodgers had not made much noise at the plate after getting off to a strong start in the first inning. The Dodgers collected three straight hits with one out in the top of the first inning, including a RBI double by Zach Walters and a RBI single by Segedin.
However, the Express was able to answer with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. Three straight batters reached base with one out to load the bases. After Robinson Chirinos struck out, Robinson followed with a game-tying two-run single.
Robinson came through with another big two-out hit his next time up in the third inning. His RBI single gave Round Rock a 3-2 advantage, as the Express took a lead against the Dodgers for the first time in their six meetings this season.
The Dodgers put the tying run at second base with one out in the fifth inning, but did not score. A two-out throwing error in the seventh inning by Round Rock shortstop Hanser Alberto put the tying run in scoring position with two outs in the seventh inning. After Express reliever Anthony Carter walked Hicks, he struck out Jack Murphy to keep Round Rock in front.
Round Rock starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez was able to defeat the Dodgers for the first time in four career starts. After his rocky beginning, Gonzalez (2-5) settled in and kept OKC scoreless and to one hit over his final five frames, with only one runner reaching scoring position. Following Segedin’s RBI single in the first inning, Gonzalez retired 15 of the last 18 batters he faced. He finished with six strikeouts and two walks over six innings.
The Dodgers pitching staff kept Round Rock quiet after the Express took the lead in the third inning. Over the final five frames, OKC allowed just three hits and had just one runner reach scoring position. The pitching staff finished the game by retiring 10 of the final 11 Express batters, keeping the team within one run.
Starting pitcher Zach Lee picked up his third loss in as many starts. Lee (6-4) allowed three runs and eight hits – all singles – over five innings. Entering Sunday, Lee had made three career starts against Round Rock and allowed a total of three runs and nine hits over 18.1 innings.
Relievers Jacob Rhame and Matt West combined to work three scoreless innings, retiring nine of 10 hitters with three strikeouts.
One day after tying their season high with 14 hits, the Dodgers were held to just five hits Sunday. They finished 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, marking the eighth time in the past 11 games the team finished with one or no hits with runners in scoring position.
The Dodgers look to avoid falling below .500 for the first time this season when they meet the Express at 7:05 p.m. Monday night at Dell Diamond. Live coverage begins 15 minutes before the first pitch on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com, or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.