This week's Top Five Tuesday is a look at the best road games of the 2013 Timber Rattlers season. You didn't get a chance to see them. But, they were really good games.
5. July 5 at Cedar Rapids: Wisconsin 8, Cedar Rapids 7
The Rattlers had lost seven straight games to the Kernels and were 1-8 in nine games against Cedar Rapids before this game. This would also be the last chance Wisconsin would get in 2013 to beat the Kernels.
The Kernels ran out to a 4-0 lead. JD Williams hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first and they added three more runs in the bottom of the third. Wisconsin rallied for two runs in the top of the fourth, but Cedar Rapids scored a run in the fourth and another in the fifth for a 6-2 lead.
Wisconsin scored a run in the sixth against Cedar Rapids starter Brett Lee. Kaleb Merck got the final out of the sixth. In the seventh, the Rattlers loaded the bases with two outs. Michael Reed drew a bases loaded walk to force in one run to make the score 6-4. That was all for Merck and Steve Gruver came in to face Tyrone Taylor.
Taylor drove an 0-1 pitch from Gruver out of the ballpark for a grand slam and an 8-6 lead.
Martin Viramontes pitched a scoreless inning in the bottom of the seventh. He walked three in the bottom of the eighth and gave up an RBI single to Adam Brett Walker, but retired Niko Goodrum to escape the lead with an 8-7 lead.
Jono Armold pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth, including striking out the final two batters of the game to nail down the comeback win.
4. April 4 at Peoria: Wisconsin 5, Peoria 4 (11 innings)
Opening Night of the 2013 season was a beautiful night in Peoria. Mitch Haniger put the Rattlers up 2-0 with a two-run double in the top of the third. Tyler Wagner allowed a run on four hits over five innings and Chris McFarland added a run-scoring single in the top of the sixth for a 3-1 lead.
But, Peoria scored three runs after there were two outs with nobody on base in the bottom of the seventh to take a 4-3 lead.
Fortunately, a pair of errors in the top of the eighth allowed the Rattlers to tie the game.
The Chiefs almost won this game in regulation. Taylor Wall, who got out of a bases loaded one out jam in the bottom of the eighth with a double play, recorded the first two outs of the bottom of the ninth. Then, he walked the next three batters and fell behind Jacob Wilson 3-0. The 3-0 pitch looked like a ball to everyone except plate umpire Ryan Simmons. He called the old automatic strike. Wall ran the count full to Wilson with strike two before getting him to fly out to left.
Wisconsin took the lead in the top of the eleventh on an error and Austin Blaski worked the second of his two scoreless innings to give the Rattlers a win to start the season.
3. June 27 at Clinton: Wisconsin 5, Clinton 4 (11 innings)
The Rattlers were 0-6 to start the second half of the season and trailed the LumberKings 3-2 heading into the top of the ninth inning at Ashford University Field. An 0-7 start looked like a distinct possibility.
Clinton led 2-1 in the top of the ninth inning. Wisconsin had been held to three hits through the first eight innings. Richard Vargas, a hard-throwing righty, came into the game and got ahead of Taylor 0-2. Taylor lined the next pitch deep to left for a…foul ball. This call was overturned and Taylor was given the game tying home run. Vargas got back to business - after Clinton manager Eddie Menchaca was ejected - and struck out the next two batters.
Adam Giacalone singled. Alfredo Rodriguez singled. Tyler Roberts walked. Chris McFarland doubled to drive in a pair of runs and the Rattlers were up 4-2.
Clinton rallied in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. A grounder back to the mound for what should have been the final out of the game turned into a throwing error to let one run home. Then, Dario Pizzano singled in the tying run on a 2-2 pitch.
The LumberKings almost won the game in the tenth. They had runners at first and second with two outs. Armold got Gaby Guerrero to ground into an inning ending 1-6-3 double play. Guerrero thought he beat the play and if he had been called sage, the runner at second would have scored. But, "Out" was the call, Guerrero slammed his helmet on the ground, and he was ejected from the game.
In the eleventh, Roberts and McFarland singled with one out. Michael Reed drove in Roberts for a 5-4 lead. Armold worked a routine 1-2-3 bottom of the eleventh inning.
2. May 3 at Lansing: Wisconsin 10, Lansing 8 (10 innings)
Wisconsin trailed the Lugnuts 8-2 with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. They got there with four runs over four innings against Leonard Lorenzo and four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning off Damien Magnifico. Wisconsin had scored their runs in the top of the fifth to get to within 4-2, but those four runs in the sixth put the Rattlers in a deep hole.
Magnifico pitched a 1-2-3 seventh.
Mike Garza drove in Parker Berberet with a two out single in the top of the eighth to make it 8-3.
Magnifico tossed a scoreless eighth.
The game exploded in the top of the ninth. Let's go to the game story:
In the ninth, Haniger walked to start the inning. Victor Roache was next and he sent a sharp grounder to short that might have been a double play. But, the ball was mishandled for an error and Wisconsin had two on with no outs. Giacalone delivered an RBI single to make the score 8-4.
The Lugnuts got the first out of the inning when Donahue struck out Sermo, but Berberet followed with a towering flyball to left that hit the top of the wall for a double. Roache scored on the play and Giacalone could only take third due to the possibility that the ball could have been short of the wall and caught for an out.
Lansing went to Chuck Ghysels, their closer, after the double by Berberet. Chris McFarland greeted Ghysels with a bunt single that scored Giacalone to make the score 8-6. Garza followed with an RBI single to send in Berberet and get McFarland around to third base. Rodriguez tied the game with a sacrifice fly.
That RBI single by Garza was his fourth hit of the game.
Magnifico worked around a one out walk in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
In the tenth, Haniger drew a walk and stole second. Lansing pitched to Roache, but got him to pop out. Then, the Lugnuts walked Giacalone to bring Jose Sermo to the plate. Orlando Arcia came on to pinch-run for Giacalone.
Sermo, who was in an 0-for-18 slump with eight strikeouts prior to this at bat, lined the first pitch to right for a two-run triple and a 10-8 Wisconsin lead.
Wall tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the tenth to pick up the save in the biggest comeback of the 2013 season for the Timber Rattlers.
1. August 18 at Beloit: Wisconsin 4, Beloit 3 (10 innings)
Sometimes it's not how far behind you are. It's more when the comeback happens,
The Snappers led the game 3-0heading into the top of the ninth inning. Deyvi Jimenez and Nolan Sanburn had allowed five hits over the first eight innings. Tyler Vail came on to pitch the top of the ninth.
A little backstory: Vail had entered a game at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium in the bottom of the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead and a runner at first base on August 5th. He gave up that inherited runner and three others to let the Rattlers rally for a 6-5 win.
Back to the game in Beloit: Roache lined out for the first out in the ninth. Garrett Cooper, Berberet, and Max Walla all singled to load the bases. Vail got the second out. Then, he had to face Arcia. The Rattlers shortstop sent a sinking line drive to right. Aaron Shipman dove and missed the ball. By the time the play ended, Arcia was standing on third base, three runs had scored, and the game was tied.
Wall worked another perfect inning in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
In the tenth, Garza and Roache singled before pulling off a double steal. Cooper singled to right and Garza scored the go-ahead run.
Wall gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the tenth, but stranded that runner and the Rattlers picked up their best road win of the 2013 season.
Next week, a look at the Top Five home games of 2013.
Past Top Five Tuesdays:
Top Five Home Crowds of 2013