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Travs get revitalized with Herb

Right-hander Tyler Herb is turning into a stopper for the Arkansas Travelers.

Herb won his second consecutive start Thursday night in the Travelers' 7-3 victory over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, and it marked the second consecutive time Herb's pitching helped end a Travelers skid.

Herb (2-2, 3.94 ERA) yielded 1 run on 7 hits, with no walks and 7 strikeouts in 7 innings in front of an announced crowd of 3,052, and it kept the Travs from being swept by the Naturals in back-to-back four-game series for the first time since 2015.

In Herb's previous start, a 9-1 Travelers victory over the Springfield Cardinals on May 13 that ended a six-game Arkansas losing streak, he pitched 8 1/3 innings with 10 strikeouts, allowing 1 walk, 4 hits and 1 earned run.

The two earned runs Herb has allowed in his past two starts are the fewest he has given up in consecutive starts since being called up to Class AA in 2016.

"I think early on in the season, I was walking too many guys, not challenging enough guys," said Herb, 25, who is in his fourth professional season. "Now, it's nice to be consistent in the (strike) zone and just put the pressure on them."

Travs Manager Daren Brown said he thought Herb's performance against Springfield was as good as he's seen him.

"Tonight was good too," Brown said. "I look at it as a confidence boost, a step in the right direction."

Left fielder Chuck Taylor extended his hitting streak to 20 games with two singles. The Texas League record is 37 games, established by El Paso Sun Kings outfielder Bobby Trevino in 1969.

Right fielder Kyle Waldrop (.261, 27 RBI) hit a 419-foot home run to right field and went 3 for 5 with 4 RBI-- his second-highest RBI total in a professional game. He drove in five runs while playing for the Class AAA Louisville Bats on July 4, 2016.

"I'm just trying to get pitches to swing at," said Waldrop, who gave the Travs a 6-0 lead with a home run in the fourth inning. "He hung a slider, I put a good swing on it and was able to get it out of the ballpark."

Naturals right-hander Corey Ray (3-3, 4.05 ERA) took the loss, allowing 4 earned runs and 8 hits over 3 innings.

The Travs scored two in both the first and second innings.

Second baseman Gianfranco Wawoe, Taylor and Waldrop hit consecutive singles in the first.

Wawoe, who was called up from High-A Modesto on May 10, was 2 for 17 (.117) in his first five games. Since then, he is 5 for 12 (.416).

"I think he was just getting his feet on the ground," Brown said of the Seattle Mariner's No. 26 prospect. "Hopefully the last few games give him some confidence."

The Travs remain in last place in the Texas League, 6½ games behind the Naturals in the Texas League North standings, but Herb's victories have Arkansas from falling farther behind.

"We've also scored more than seven runs in each game," Herb said. "So, it's nothing I'm doing. But it feels good to get this win, and I hope it helps us get something going."

Sports on 05/19/2017

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