Drillers, Quakes Capture League Championships

(Mandatory Credit: Rich Crim/Tulsa Drillers)

For those of you who didn’t stay connected to the media after the Dodgers‘ 3-0 victory over the Cardinals on Friday night, you missed even more good news as the night progressed.

The Double-A Tulsa Drillers defeated the San Antonio Missions 5-2 on the road, securing a championship series sweep and their first league title since—you guessed it—1988. A little farther west and a few hours after the Drillers began celebrating, the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes pummeled the Visalia Rawhide 9-1 to secure the California League Championship for the third time in team history.

And, to top it all off, the San Francisco Giants held off the Colorado Rockies 2-0 in late action, allowing the big league Dodgers to crawl back within a half game of the division lead in the NL West.

Middle infielder Gavin Lux, who is the sixth-ranked prospect in the Los Angeles system according to MLB Pipeline, got the Drillers started with a bang by depositing the first pitch of the game over the right field wall.

The Missions hung around until the seventh inning, when center fielder DJ Peters launched a two-run shot to break a 2-2 tie, giving Tulsa a 4-2 lead. The next batter, left fielder Jacob Scavuzzo, went deep with a blast of his own to stretch the lead to three. That would be all the offense the Drillers needed.

Righty Dustin May, the highest-ranked pitcher in the Los Angeles system, started the game for Tulsa, throwing five impressive innings. Right-handed reliever Shea Spitzbarth followed, tossing two perfect frames in the sixth and seventh. Layne Somsen held the Missions at bay in the eighth and ninth innings to register the save.

The series sweep gave the Drillers franchise its fourth-ever championship title and the ninth overall for the city of Tulsa.

In Rancho Cucamonga, left fielder Donovan Casey went 4-for-4 with a triple and four RBI, while series-MVP Cristian Santana homered for the second straight game, allowing the Quakes to clinch their second league title in four years.

First baseman Nick Yarnall added three hits of his own, including a solo blast in the third inning off losing pitcher Connor Grey.

25-year-old righty Isaac Anderson was brilliant on the bump for the Quakes, dealing an even six innings of shutout baseball. The Boise native allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out six opposing batters.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the game was in the later innings, when the Quakes apparently stacked the deck with a trio of big league pitchers who were rehabbing from an assortment of injuries.

Hard-throwing righty John Axford, who had been on the big league disabled list since early August with a cracked fibula, started the sixth inning for the Quakes, but recorded just two outs while surrendering a walk, a double and an earned run on 18 pitches.

Still suffering lingering effects of a severe rotator cuff strain, southpaw Tony Cingrani threw the entire eighth inning and struck out two batters, with his only blemish coming in the form of a walk. He threw 19 pitches.

The third rehabber, righty Yimi Garcia started the ninth inning and recorded two outs on just seven pitches before giving way to right-hander Parker Curry to close the game down for Rancho.


2 thoughts on “Drillers, Quakes Capture League Championships

  1. Congrats to both Tulsa and Rancho Cucamonga for bringing home their respective league championship titles yesterday. That means the Dodger farm system ended up splitting the difference in that area (with OKC, Great Lakes, and Ogden missing out, AZL Dodgers wrapped up theirs last month). Wouldn’t be surprised at all if Lux ends up taking organizational player of the year honors at this point given the breakout season he’s had between Rancho and Tulsa. Also pleased to see Donovan Casey come back with a vengeance after spending a good chunk of the season rehabbing a rather serious injury. Last night was hands-down his best offensive showing in pro-ball to date, totally locked in he was in that title-clinching game.

    Hmm, perhaps this will have a carry-over effect on the parent club for once…

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