Nate Long wasn't even supposed to be in the starting rotation for the Midland RockHounds when the season opened. The right-hander began the year in the bullpen, but when starters Raul Alcantara and Tanner Peters were injured early in the year, Long stepped into the rotation. He would wind-up being one of the most consistent starters in the Texas League in 2014. He went 13-8 with a 3.18 ERA and a 126:49 K:BB in 150 regular season innings.
Long struggled in Game One of the divisional series, but his defense did him no favors in that game, as errors led to five unearned runs (and one earned run) in a nightmare first inning. Long would have no such struggles in Game One of the Texas League finals. Facing the Tulsa Drillers, Long was dominant. He scattered three hits and one walk over eight brilliant innings. Long allowed one run and he struck-out three in the win.
The game was tight for most of the evening. Midland took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when the RockHounds took advantage of two errors to scratch across a run. Beau Taylor hit a sacrifice fly to drive-in Dusty Coleman for the game's first run. Tulsa would answer with a run in the bottom of the third that scored on a two-out single.
The score remained 1-1 until the top of the seventh, when Kent Matthes would play hero. Kenny Wilson led-off the inning with a walk. He took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a groundball single by Max Muncy. Matthes, a former Tulsa Driller himself, then stepped up and gave the RockHounds a big boost with a three-run homer to left. Matthes joined the RockHounds' mid-season from Triple-A Sacramento, and he was a big factor for them down-the-stretch. He hit 15 homers and drove-in 60 in 78 games for Midland.
Wilson would give the RockHounds even more breathing room in the top of the eighth when he singled home Taylor. Jose Flores, who saved all three Midland wins in the division series, finished off the game with a perfect one-two-three ninth.
- The A's announced on Tuesday a two-year extension of their player development contract with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters. The agreement will keep the Lake Monsters as the A's short-season affiliate through at least 2016. The A's signed-on with Vermont before the 2011 season.