One night after being on the wrong end of a sixth-inning rally, the Oklahoma City RedHawks hit two home runs in the sixth inning as part of a 4-2 comeback win over the Round Rock Express before 10,125 Friday night at Dell Diamond.
The RedHawks (77-57) have now won eight of their last nine games and have taken a seven-game lead in first place with 10 games remaining the regular season.
The game was scoreless entering the bottom of the third inning. Up to that point, the Express had scored just one run and collected five hits over 17 innings throughout season against RedHawks pitcher Asher Wojciechowski. Round Rock was able to change their fortunes, collecting four straight hits with one out. Jim Adduci opened the scoring with an RBI double, and Engel Beltre followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
The RedHawks had trouble getting their offense started against Round Rock starting pitcher Josh Lindblom, who retired the first 14 batters he faced. Although the RedHawks notched a couple of hits in the fifth, they were still held scoreless.
That changed in the sixth. With one out, Trevor Crowe sent a home run out to center field to get the RedHawks on the board.
After a single by Jose Martinez, George Springer stepped up next. Springer sent a high fly ball to deep left field. Aaron Cunningham jumped and reached over the wall, but the ball was just out of his grasp, as Springer collected his Minor League-leading 37th home run of the season. The two-run dinger gave the RedHawks their first lead of the night at 3-2.
The Express threatened to tie the game in the eighth. With a runner at second base and one out, RedHawks reliever Jason Stoffel uncorked a wild pitch to put Beltre at third. On the very next pitch, Stoffel struck out Joey Butler. With Beltre remaining at third, Alex Buchholz flied out to left field to end the inning.
The RedHawks added another run in the ninth. With two outs, Jon Singleton stole second base and went to third on a throwing error. Marc Krauss then hit an RBI single to extend the lead to 4-2.
Turns out Oklahoma City didn't need the insurance run. Jorge De Leon worked a quick 1-2-3 ninth inning to preserve the win and earn his fifth save.
Outside of his brief stumble in the third inning, Wojciechowski (9-6) turned in another strong start. He earned his team-leading ninth win after allowing two runs and seven hits over 6.2 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
In three starts against the Express this season, Wojciechowski has now allowed just three runs and 13 hits over 21.2 innings.
Despite Lindblom's great beginning to his outing, he ended up with the loss. Lindblom (8-3) finished after six innings, allowing three runs and five hits. He struck out a season-high nine with no walks.
Round Rock's pitching staff combined to strike out 13 batters, setting a new season high by the RedHawks offense in a nine-inning game.
The RedHawks face the Express Saturday night at Dell Diamond at 7:05 p.m.