Clinton (9-27) got on the board first. Mickey Wiswall doubled to start the fourth inning. A walk to Kalian Sams put two runners on base and Jabari Blash knocked in Wiswall for the first run of the game. On the play, Sams was thrown out at third and Blash took second base. One out later, Jake Schlander singled to drive in Blash for a 2-0 lead.
Wisconsin (17-15) responded with a two out rally in the top of the fifth against Paxton. Nick Shaw singled with two outs. Greg Hopkins tripled to right-center to send Shaw home.
The Rattlers tried another two out rally in the sixth. Mike Walker was at second with two outs. Keen sent a grounder that snuck through to left field. Walker rounded third and headed for home. Sams, who played for the Timber Rattlers in 2007, fielded the ball in left and fired to the plate. Walker slid to the front of the plate and thought he got in under the tag of catcher Steven Baron. But, home plate umpire Garrett Patterson saw it differently and called Walker out. The Rattlers designated hitter was ejected shortly thereafter.
Keen singled with one out in the top of the ninth inning against Clinton reliever Jandy Sena. He stole second, but was still there with two outs. Then, Rivera crushed the first pitch he saw from Sena to the base of the wall in center for an RBI triple to tie the game.
Shaw continued the rally by drawing a walk against Sena after falling behind 0-2. That brought Hopkins to the plate.
Hopkins sent a grounder to Stefan Romero at third, but the ball ate up Romero. The third baseman for the LumberKings recovered and threw to first, but Hopkins beat the throw to allow Rivera to score the run to put Wisconsin up 3-2.
But getting that sixth straight win was not going to be easy for the Rattlers. Closer Greg Holle gave up a leadoff single to Wiswall before striking out Sams. Then, Jabari Blash drew a walk, but Holle struck out Baron for the second out inning.
Schlander worked the count to 3-2 and coaxed a walk out of Holle to load the bases and bring Robbie Anston to the plate.
The count ran full again and Anston fouled off one pitch to stay alive. But, Holle found a little extra and blew a fastball past Anston for strike three to record the final out. Holle is now 8-for-8 in save situations.
The loss was the seventh straight for the LumberKings.
Game two of the series is Saturday night at Alliant Energy Field. Matt Miller (1-3, 4.09) is scheduled to start for the Timber Rattlers. The LumberKings have Forrest Snow (1-4, 4.54) as their scheduled starting pitcher. Game time is 6:00pm. Tune in for the Miller Lite Pregame Show on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting at 5:40pm.
WP: Tyler Cravy (2-1)
LP: Jandy Sena (1-1)
SAVE: Greg Holle (8)