GENEVA, IL - Pierce Johnson pitched seven scoreless innings and the Kane County Cougars held on to make Johnson the winning pitcher. Kane County topped the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. The game was the final game of the first half of the Midwest League schedule for both teams.
Reggie Golden gave Kane County (30-36) the lead in the third inning. The Cougars left fielder homered to lead off the frame to make the score 1-0.
The Cougars pushed their lead to 4-0 with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth. Rock Shoulders hit a solo home run to left-center for the first run. Gioskar Amaya was next and he singled. Carlos Escobar drove in Amaya with a double off the wall in left. Then, Reggie Golden's high popup to short right dropped between three Wisconsin defenders. The ball deflected into the Kane County bullpen off a Rattler who was sliding to make the catch and Golden wound up on third with a triple.
Wisconsin (29-36) tried to put together a two-out rally in the top of the sixth. Tyrone Taylor drew a walk. Michael Reed singled and Adam Giacalone drew another walk to load the bases. Mike Garza cracked a line drive, but the ball was hit right at Cougars third baseman Jeimar Candelario who snared the ball for the third out.
Johnson allowed four hits, walked three, and struck out five as he set a professional high for innings pitched with seven.
Garza got a second chance with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the eighth inning against Cougars reliever Nathan Dorris. Garza cashed in this opportunity with a two-run single to left.
In the ninth, the Rattlers rallied against reliever Stephen Perakslis. Adrian Williams singled with one out and Alfredo Rodriguez drew a walk to put the tying runs on base. Max Walla's high fly to right looked like it may drop, but Bijan Rademacher made a sliding catch for the second out. The game ended when Perakslis snuck a 2-2 fastball just on the outside corner past Taylor for strike three.
The loss dropped the Timber Rattlers into seventh place in the Western Division of the Midwest League, a half game behind sixth place Kane County. But, the teams will start fresh with 0-0 record when the second half begins on Thursday night.
Reed, who had a pair of singles and a walk on Sunday, extended his on base streak to 36 games. That is the third longest on base streak in minor league baseball this season.
The Timber Rattlers are off for the Midwest League All-Star Break until Thursday night. Wisconsin opens the second half of the 2013 Midwest League schedule on Thursday night with a home game against the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Game time is 7:05pm.
Reggie Golden (2nd, 0 on in 3rd inning off Tyler Wagner, 0 out)
Rock Shoulders (13th, 0 on in 4th inning off Tyler Wagner, 2 out)
WP: Pierce Johnson (5-5)
LP: Tyler Wagner (6-5)
SAVE: Stephen Perakslis (3)