The Round Rock Express erupted for 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, serving as a springboard to beat the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 12-3, before 7,157 Thursday night at Dell Diamond.
The loss snapped the RedHawks' seven-game winning streak and cut their lead in first place ahead of the Express (70-63) down to six games with 11 games remaining in the regular season.
Tied 1-1 after five innings, the RedHawks (76-57) jumped in front in the top of the sixth with a two-run homer by Brandon Laird, giving Oklahoma City its first lead of the night.
However, things took a sharp turn in the bottom of the inning. Engel Beltre led off with a drag bunt. RedHawks pitcher Paul Clemens made a diving stop and threw to first base from his knees. The throw was accurate, but first baseman Jon Singleton missed the catch, allowing Beltre to reach base.
The error would be one of many tough breaks in the inning. With the bases loaded and none out, Alex Buchholz sent a ground ball to third base. Laird threw home to get the force out, but home plate umpire Alex Ortiz ruled RedHawks catcher Carlos Perez's foot was not on the plate, thus allowing a run to score.
Two pitches later, Chris McGuiness swatted a grand slam to center field to give the Express a 6-3 lead.
Round Rock did not stop there. Brendan Harris and Jim Adduci each added RBI singles to extend the lead to 8-3. Making his second plate appearance of the inning, Beltre hit a three-run homer, putting 10 runs on the board before an out had been recorded.
McGuiness added an RBI groundout in the eighth to score the game's final run and finish his five RBI night.
The Express took the first lead of the night in the third inning. Aaron Cuningham led off and sent a ground ball to RedHawks shortstop Jimmy Paredes, but Paredes' throw went into the first base stands. Cunningham advanced to second base on the play, and two batters later, Jim Adduci singled him home to give the Express a 1-0 lead.
The RedHawks were having trouble getting their offense going, but Marc Krauss was able to jumpstart it with a solo home run to lead off the fifth, tying the game 1-1. It was Krauss' first homer since rejoining the RedHawks, and his 10th with Oklahoma City this season.
Like he has done many times throughout his career, Round Rock starter Scott Richmond turned in a strong outing against the RedHawks. Richmond (5-6) allowed three runs and four hits over seven innings. He struck out and walked two each.
Despite throwing five great innings to start, Clemens could not rebound after the tough opening play of the sixth. He faced seven batters before exiting the inning and was charged with eight runs (seven earned) and six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
The RedHawks will try and rebound when they meet the Express Friday night at Dell Diamond at 7:05 p.m.