14, 2010 started on a bus for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
The team had just wrapped up a seven-game road trip through Clinton and
Quad Cities with a victory over the River Bandits on August 13.
That win gave the Rattlers a 4-3 road trip and a record of 22-25 in the
Wisconsin was starting a series at home against the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Saturday night, August 14. They had played the Kernels tough all year, but somehow, Cedar Rapids always seemed to have the edge and come out with a victory.
It looked to all 5,457 in attendance on this evening at Time Warner Cable Field, that the Kernels would win another close one over the Rattlers. They were up 5-4 with two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the eleventh.
Most in attendance knew that extra innings had not been kind...no, scratch that...extra innings had been cruel to the Timber Rattlers. And not taking too many items through the 10 items or fewer express lane at the grocery store cruel; More along the lines of pulling the wings off a fly cruel.
Here is a list of the ten games decided in extra innings for the Rattlers in the 2010 season prior to the game on August 14.
April 20 v. Cedar Rapids Loss in 10 innings
May 3 @Beloit Loss in 10 innings
May 8 v. Cedar Rapids Loss in 10 innings
May 14 v. Beloit Loss in 10 innings
May 20 v. Peoria Loss in 15 innings
June 4 @Lake County Loss in 11 innings
June 10 v. Bowling Green Loss in 10 innings
June 28 v. Quad Cities Loss in 14 innings
June 29 v. Quad Cities Loss in 12 innings
July 3 @Burlington Loss in 14 innings
Whoa. Looking at that list again, that makes three road losses in extra innings and seven extra innings losses at home. That seems...extremely...unbalanced.
What makes this August 14 game the #2 game of the 2010 season, is the fact that the Timber Rattlers said, "To Heck with THAT." when they got into extra innings...and the way that they rallied to win.
Hiram Burgos, who had recently rejoined the Rattlers from Helena, was the starting pitcher for Wisconsin in this game. He allowed a first inning run and a fourth inning two-out two-run homer to the Kernels and Wisconsin was down 3-0.
A pair of singles and a two out walk loaded the bases for Cedar Rapids in the top of the fifth, but Burgos got out of the jam with a strikeout, his fifth of the game.
Wisconsin's offense had at least one runner in scoring position in each of the first four innings, but couldn't come up with the big hit. That changed after Burgos threw the zero on the board for the Kernels in the top of the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, Cutter Dykstra doubled to start things. Scooter Gennett walked and Kentrail Davis singled to load the bases. Khris Davis followed with a two run single and the deficit was a single run. Later in the inning, a Chris Dennis RBI grounder got the tying run home.
Burgos tossed another scoreless inning in the top of the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth, Dykstra delivered an RBI double to give the Rattlers their first lead of the game.
There was a chance for the Rattlers to push that lead out after the seventh inning stretch. They loaded the bases with one out, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the frame with lead at one run. That lead would be gone shortly thereafter.
Eric Oliver led off the Cedar Rapids eighth with
a double off Santo Manzanillo. A
grounder to the right side sent Oliver to third.
Then, Manzanillo threw a wild pitch, Oliver scored, and the game was tied
Neither team threatened after that until the Kernels half of the eleventh. Adrian Rosario walked Jose Jimenez to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved pinch runner Terrell Alliman to second. Jean Segura singled, but Alliman wasn't going to try to score so he stopped at third. However, the throw came home anyway. That allowed Segura to take second base.
Then, one of those plays happened that you never thought that you would see in person. It gave the Kernels the lead and - given the Rattlers extra-innings record - probably the victory.
Rosario was going to walk Jean Segura load the bases and set up a double play to end the inning. However, ball one was too high for catcher Cameron Garfield. Yep, a wild pitch on the first pitch of an intentional walk. Alliman walked home and the Kernels were up 5-4.
David Carpenter, who had set down the Rattlers in order in the tenth inning, went out for the eleventh and retired Dykstra and Gennett. Wisconsin was down to their final out and everyone was just waiting for the Saturday night fireworks display.
Everyone except Kentrail Davis, Khris Davis, and Hunter Morris that is.
Kentrail Davis singled and the tying run was on board. Khris Davis walked with a very good at bat and the winning run was on board.
Up stepped Morris with a chance to tie or win the game. He had been having a tough night. Here are the previous five at bats for Morris in the game: Strike out swinging, single, strike out swinging, strike out swinging (reach on wild pitch), strike out swinging.
Morris, the 4th round pick of the Brewers in the 2010 draft, started this at bat against Carpenter by taking strike one. He fouled off the next pitch for strike two. Another missed-it-by-that-much comeback attempt would fall short and another agonizingly close loss would go in the books for the Rattlers as they would fall to 0-11 in extra innings.
Nope. Didn't happen.
Morris cracked the next pitch to the warning track in front of the Timber Rattlers bullpen. Both Davises scored easily and the Rattlers won...and the Rattlers celebrated.
You can see the play as #4 on the top plays of the season video embedded below.
Khris Davis rightly gets credit for the franchise record 22 home runs that he hit in 2010. But, his at bats in the first and eleventh innings of this game are also indicators of his talent. In the first inning, Davis worked the count full in an eleven pitch plate appearance. He fouled off five two strike pitches and would up drawing a walk. In the eleventh - and in a spot where a home run wins the game - Davis again worked the count full, fouled off a pair of two strike pitches, and drew the walk that set the stage for the big hit by Morris.
Hiram Burgos, the starter, who joined the Rattlers in the second half of the season, was much more at ease on the mound than Hiram Burgos, the reliever, who started the season with the Timber Rattlers. I am only guessing here, but I can see a 2011 Opening Day roster for Wisconsin that includes Burgos as a member of the rotation. If that goes well, look for a bump up to Brevard County near the All-Star Break.
The Rattlers finished the season with a 2-11 record in extra innings games. There was an 11-10 win over Kane County on August 29 and a 7-4 loss to Quad Cities on September 2. Both games went 11 innings.
Out of 13 extra-innings games for the Rattlers in 2010, 10 were at Time Warner Cable Field. For the sake of comparison: Wisconsin played seven games that went to extra innings in all of 2009 and went 3-4.
Take a look at the game clock in the picture at the top of the article. Had the Rattlers only tied the game or had they stretched the game out for about five more minutes before plating the winning run, no fireworks display for the 5,000+ in attendance that night.
Boxscore | Play-by-play | Original Game story
Game # 5: Duck Hunting