PEORIA, IL - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers offense was silent for most of the game on Sunday at Dozer Park. Peoria took a 1-0 lead to the ninth inning, but it was the Rattlers who would triumph in a 7-1 decision that took ten innings.
Peoria (25-17) scored a run in the first inning. Jimmy Bosco doubled with one out. Juan Herrera followed with a single to drive in Bosco for a 1-0 lead.
Chiefs starter Arturo Reyes took a no-hit bid into the top of the seventh. Rafael Neda broke up the no-no with a two-out double down the line in right. Chiefs reliever Brandon Lee came on to get the final out of the seventh to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Wisconsin received a fine pitching performance out of starter Taylor Williams. The right-hander pitched 6-1/3 innings, struck out seven, and allowed five hits. But, the one run in the first inning had him on the hook for the loss.
Michael Ratterree changed that with a long home run to left field in the top of the ninth. Ratterree, who had struck out his first three times at the plate, blasted a 1-0 pitch from Brandon Lee out of the stadium with one out to even the score 1-1.
Wisconsin (20-22) had lost the last two games to the Chiefs in this series in extra innings. That streak would not reach three straight extra-innings losses.
Johnny Davis started the rally with a one out walk and a steal of second. Chris McFarland was next and his grounder back to the mound should have been the second out of the inning. But, reliever Jeff Rauh saw Davis too far away from second and tried to get the lead runner. The speedy Davis eluded the rundown and dove safely back into second base to give Wisconsin two runners on base with only one out.
Clint Coulter made Peoria pay. The Rattlers designated hitter sent a sinking line drive to left. Kenny Peoples-Walls made a dive for the ball and missed. The ball rolled to the wall. By the time the ball was retrieved, Davis and McFarland had scored and Coulter rumbled to third with a triple that gave Wisconsin a 3-1 lead.
Jose Pena made it 4-1 as he lined a single through the drawn-in infield to get Coulter home.
Later in the inning, Neda and Paul Eshleman delivered RBI singles to pad Wisconsin's lead to 6-1.
The Chiefs brought position player Jake Stone on in relief of Rauh and one of his first pitches was wild to allow Neda to score from third for a 7-1 lead.
Tyler Alexander, who came on in relief of Williams in the seventh inning, pitched 3-2/3 innings of perfect relief to earn his third consecutive win. Alexander struck out five, including the final batter of the game to finish with a flourish.
The Timber Rattlers return home to face the Kane County Cougars on Monday night. Barrett Astin (4-2, 3.21) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Kane County will counter with Juan Paniagua (0-2, 4.50). Game time is 6:35pm.
The first game of the three game series is a Qdoba Q*Monday. Purchase a lunch entrée at either Qdoba location in Appleton (3813 E. Calumet Street or 4343 W. Wisconsin Avenue) on Monday before the Rattlers host the Cougars to receive a ticket to any regular season Monday home game during 2014.
If you can't make it to the ballpark, you may catch the action several ways. MyNEW 32's Sports Showdown will broadcast the game on television starting with their pregame show at 6:00pm. The radio broadcast will be available on AM1280, WNAM and IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm. Subscribers to MiLB.TV may watch the game that way.
Michael Ratterree (7th, 0 on in 9th off Brandon Lee, 1 out)
WP: Tyler Alexander (4-3)
LP: Jeff Rauh (0-1)