Jeremy Schaffer singled just past the pitchers mound to score C.J. McElroy Jr. as the Peoria Chiefs snapped a six-game losing streak and beat the Clinton LumberKings 7-6 in 12 innings on Wednesday. The win moved the Chiefs to 67-65 overall and 29-36 in the second half, two games behind Clinton for the final wild card spot.
After the Chiefs stranded a runner at third in the first inning, the LumberKings grabbed the early lead against Brad Watson in the second. Taylor Ard led off the inning with a home run to left field, putting Clinton up 1-0 with his eighth long ball of the season. The LumberKings added to their lead in the top of the third as Dario Pizzano homered to right field with two outs to extend Clinton's lead to 3-0.
Ildemaro Vargas appeared to score on a Nick Martini single in the third but on a play at the plate, he was called out to end the Chiefs threat. The LumberKings scored another two-out run in the fourth as Alfredo Morales launched his first home run of year giving Clinton a 4-0 lead.
The Chiefs got back into the game with a three-run fourth inning against Victor Sanchez. Schaffer led off with a double and moved to third on a Jordan Walton ground out. Trevor Martin singled to score Schaffer and Juan Herrera doubled to move Martin to third. Vargas singled to center to plate Martin and a McElroy single with two outs drove in Herrera. Martini singled to left and Vargas attempted to score from second, but was thrown out at home preserving the LumberKings 4-3 lead after four.
Clinton put another run on the board in the fifth inning. Luis Cabellero led off with an infield single and back-to-back walks loaded the bases. After Cabellero was tagged out at home, Brock Hebert scored as Watson struggled to field an oddly hit ground ball back to the mound, eventually picking it up and making the play at first. Watson retired the next batter, limiting the damage and keeping the score 5-3 LumberKings.
Clinton scored another run in the sixth via the long ball, their fourth home run of the game. Gaby Guerrero led off the inning with his second homer of the year, both coming against the Chiefs, as Clinton took a 6-3 lead.
After they stranded two in scoring position in the sixth inning, the Chiefs plated a pair in the seventh against Blake Holovach. Martini reached on a lead-off walk and moved to second on a Walton two-out bloop single to left. Martin doubled off the left-field wall to score both Martini and Walton, cutting the LumberKings lead to 6-5. With the tying run in scoring position Herrera flew out to right field to end the Chiefs threat.
The Chiefs tied the game in the eighth inning on a two-out rally, but could have had more against Jochi Ogando. With two down McElroy singled and scored on a Martini double to right field to even the score. Bruce Caldwell singled to right and while Martini was rounding third he tripped and had to retreat to the bag. After Schaffer walked to load the bases, Walton grounded out to end the inning with the score tied at 6-6.
After the Chiefs stranded runners in scoring position in both the ninth and 10th innings, they closed it out in the 12th against George Mieses. McElroy led off the frame with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third on a ground out, and after Caldwell was intentionally walked Schaffer hit a bouncing single just over the outstretched glove of Mieses to plate McElroy, giving the Chiefs the 7-6 win.
Watson gave up a season-high six runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out five. Jay Voss tossed three scoreless innings giving up two hits and one walk while fanning two. Joe Donofrio (6-2) tossed two scoreless innings while allowing two hits and striking out three.
Notes… The Chiefs have eight walk-off wins in 2013, their last was on August 8 against Wisconsin…Peoria snapped a season long six-game losing streak with the win…The Chiefs set a season high with 23 hits, their most since a 24-hit game in 2009 and the most by any MWL team in 2013…The last time the Chiefs recorded at least 20 hits was June 2, 2011 against Lansing…McElroy Jr. recorded his 13th multi-hit game while recording a career-high four hits…Martini notched his 21st by recording four hits, a career high…Martin notched his third multi-RBI performance and his 10th multi-RBI game….Walton recorded his 29th multi-RBI game, Herrera got his fourth, Vargas earned his 26th and Shaffer notched is 12th…The Chiefs were 8-for-21 with runners in scoring after recording only two hits in their last 40 at bats with runners in scoring position…Velazco tied his career high with three hits, notching his 12th multi-hit game of the year…Voss pitched three innings, his most with the Chiefs…Donofrio made his 39th appearance tying Joe Scanio for the team lead and struck out a batter for his 14th outing in a row…The Chiefs came back to tie the game from four runs down, equaling their biggest comeback of the season…The Chiefs seven runs was their most in a game since they scored nine against Burlington on August 5…Peoria finished the season 7-0 at home in Wednesday games…The Chiefs snapped a streak of 59 straight innings without scoring more than one run by plating three in the fourth frame…Watson had only allowed four home runs all year prior to giving up four against Clinton, the most allowed by the Chiefs in a single game this season...Chiefs leader in hits, Breyvic Valera, missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury…The Chiefs take on the LumberKings for game two at 6:30 p.m. Thursday… It's Thirsty Thursday with $1 12-ounce domestic draft beer and fountain drinks presented by Miller Lite…The Chiefs RH Mike Mayers (0-2, 3.05) takes on a pitcher to be named for Clinton…The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Premier Print Group Pre-Game Show at 6:15 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive which also has downloads for a free app on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android.