AMARILLO, Texas — Edward Olivares lined a tiebreaking three-run double in the eighth inning Tuesday night to propel the Amarillo Sod Poodles past the Tulsa Drillers 13-6 in the opener of the Texas League Championship Series.
Olivares’ hit highlighted a seven-run outburst off reliever Ryan Moseley. Brad Zunica added a two-run double, Buddy Reed had an RBI single and another run scored on a wild pitch.
In the top of the eighth, Tulsa tied the game at 6 on Connor Wong’s three-run home run after Jeter Downs led off with a single and Chris Parmelee walked.
Game 2 in the best-of-5 series will be played at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday in Amarillo. Defending champion Tulsa’s scheduled starting pitcher is left-hander Leo Crawford, who is 4-0 with a 2.35 ERA in his past 10 combined starts with the Drillers and Single-A Rancho Cucacmonga. Crawford was the winner as he gave up one run over 6⅓ innings in Game 2 of the North finals against Arkansas.
Amarillo’s pitcher will be right-hander Jacob Nix, who is on a rehab assignment from the parent San Diego Padres. Nix allowed two runs in five innings and took the loss in Game 2 of the South finals against Midland.
Tuesday’s game, with the wind blowing out at 21 mph, was a continuation of the Drillers’ recent home-run binge at Amarillo’s Hodgetown stadium. Tulsa hit four homers, though three of them were solo shots. The Drillers hit 16 in a four-game series in Amarillo two weeks ago.
Amarillo jumped ahead with three runs in the third. Reed led off with a homer — the first allowed by Tulsa starter JoJo Gray in 46 innings this season.
One out later, after Taylor Trammell’s base hit, he scored all the way from first on Ivan Castillo’s run-and-hit single. Castillo later scored when Gray dropped a throw at first base for an error on what would have been an inning-ending groundout. Luis Torrens followed with a double off the left-field wall, but Owen Miller was thrown out at the plate as he tried to score from first base.
Solo homers by Tulsa’s Cody Thomas and Omar Estevez sandwiched a two-run single by Trammell as the Sod Poodles led 5-2 after five innings.
Tulsa’s Donovan Casey homered in the seventh, but Amarillo matched that in the bottom of the inning on Torrens’ two-out RBI single that made it 6-3.
The Drillers made a roster move before the game as infielder Eric Peterson was activated and infielder Errol Robinson was placed on the temporary inactive list. Robinson, in his third postseason with Tulsa, had two hits in Game 5 of the North finals against Arkansas — his only appearance in that series. Peterson, who played with Tulsa in last year’s TL finals, batted .245 in 19 games for Tulsa this season. His last game with Tulsa was Aug. 15.