GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers needed three comebacks, but they finally overcame the Fort Wayne TinCaps 8-6 Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Chris McFarland drove in the run that tied the game 6-6 with a triple and scored the go ahead run on a wild pitch in the sixth inning. Ryan Gibbard made that lead hold with four hitless innings out of the bullpen.
Fort Wayne opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning. Dane Phillips singled with two outs to drive in Max Tissenbaum for a 1-0 lead.
The Timber Rattlers took the lead in the bottom of the first inning with a two out hit of their own. Mike Garza singled to drive in Michael Reed and Tyrone Taylor for a 2-1 advantage.
The TinCaps rallied for three runs off Wisconsin starting pitcher Preston Gainey in the top of the second inning. The frame started with a walk to Luis Tejada, who stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Luis Domoromo singled to drive in Tejada. Tyler Stubblefield followed with a double that scored Domoromo. Later in the inning, a single by Mallex Smith sent Stubblefield across the plate for a 4-2 lead.
Wisconsin rallied to retake the lead thanks to a two-out error in the bottom of the second. Tyler Roberts doubled with one out, but was still at second with two away. Orlando Arcia reached on a error to extend the inning and put runners on the corners. Reed followed with a single to drive in Roberts and send Arcia around to third base. Taylor was next and he singled to knock in Arcia to tie the game 4-4. The single also sent Reed around to third base. An error on a grounder off the bat of Victor Roache let Reed score the go ahead run for a 5-4 lead.
Fort Wayne tied the game in the top of the third. They had the bases loaded with one out on a pair of walks and a single. Domoromo sent a grounder to first and the Rattlers got the out at second, but there was no chance to get Domoromo at first for the double play. That let the runner at third score the tying run.
Another fielder's choice in the top of the fourth got Fort Wayne the lead against reliever Rodolfo Fernandez. They had runners at the corners and one out and Diego Goris had a high chopper near second base. The Rattlers got the out at second, but they again had no chance to turn the inning ending double play. That allowed the runner from third score and the TinCaps led 6-5.
Wisconsin made their third and final rally in the bottom of the sixth. Max Walla started the inning with a triple. One out later, Chris McFarland tripled to knock in Walla with the tying run. Arcia was next and he struck out, but pitch for strike three got to the backstop for a wild pitch to allow McFarland to score the go ahead run.
Wisconsin tacked on a run in the eighth on an RBI single by Arcia that drove in Roberts.
Gibbard, who came on in the top of the sixth inning, worked around a pair of walks and did not allow a hit over his four innings of work. He struck out Phillips with a runner at first to end the game and pick up his fourth win of the season.
Wednesday night was the thirteenth consecutive Timber Rattlers game to be decided by two or fewer runs. Wisconsin is 8-5 in their last thirteen games.
Game two of the series is Friday night. Leonard Lorenzo (1-4, 6.10) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Max Fried (3-3, 3.62) is set to start for the TinCaps. Game time is set for 7:05pm.
Paramedics, firemen, police officers, and their families will receive $1 off reserved bleachers and box seating for Emergency Services Night. Plus, the first 1,000 fans to attend this game will receive a baseball courtesy of Baycom. The baseball will feature Clint Coulter, Victor Roache, and Mitch Haniger, the top three picks by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2012 draft.
It's a North Shore Bank Family Night and kids 12 and under receive a free hot dog and soda. Children 14 and under may run the bases thanks to Molina Healthcare after the postgame fireworks display.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, catch the television broadcast on My NEW32's Sports Showdown starting with the pregame show at 6:30pm. The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM or through the IHeartRadio app starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:45pm. Thursday's game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
WP: Ryan Gibbard (4-2)
LP: Matt Chabot (2-1)