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"Feliz Navidad": Bandits ace ends losing skid
Michael Feliz tosses seven shutout innings for Quad Cities in 6-0 win on Christmas in July theme night
07/19/2014 10:48 PM ET
After a 12-pitch at-bat, James Ramsay legged out a triple in the sixth inning Saturday night. (Sean Flynn Photography)

Michael Feliz became the first Quad Cities starter to pitch seven shutout innings this season and matched a season high with eight strikeouts to help the River Bandits snap a season-long six-game losing streak with a 6-0 victory over the Lake County Captains in front of 6,212 at Modern Woodmen Park Saturday night.

In his first Midwest League outing since July 6, Feliz became the team's first six-game winner and pitched seven shutout innings for the first time in his career in the regular season. The right-hander had also pitched seven shutout innings for short-season Class-A Tri-City in a New York-Penn League playoff start last Sept. 6. Feliz (6-2) gave Quad Cities (13-15 second half, 48-49 overall) its longest starting effort since he went seven innings July 1 at Beloit. The last River Bandits starter to pitch seven scoreless innings was Josh Hader against South Bend in Game 3 of the 2013 Midwest League Championship Series last Sept. 14. The team's last regular season start of seven shutout innings was by Joe Bircher at Beloit on July 28, 2013. On Saturday, right-hander Tyler Brunnemann pitched two perfect relief innings.

Feliz worked around a first-inning, one-out walk, and his teammates gave him a lead in the bottom of the inning against Captains right-hander Mitch Brown (2-8). Center fielder James Ramsay snapped an 0-for-23 stretch with a single through the middle and became the team's first runner in scoring position since Thursday after right fielder Brett Phillips singled to extend an eight-game hitting streak. Third baseman J.D. Davis walked to load the bases, and left fielder Ronnie Mitchell grounded out to second base to score a run. Brown hit first baseman Chase McDonald to re-load the bases, but retired the next two batters to escape with a 1-0 deficit.

In the second inning, Feliz allowed a leadoff double by Captains catcher Eric Haase and a groundout to put a runner at third base. After a walk, Feliz induced a ground ball for an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. Only one other baserunner reached third base for Lake County (15-13, 42-56), when left fielder Dorssys Paulino hit a two-out double and went to third base on a wild pitch in the fourth. Feliz had only one perfect inning but scattered three hits, three walks and a hit batter while striking out a batter in five of the seven innings he pitched.

Brown kept the score 1-0 through the fourth inning, as he set down 11 of 12 batters in one stretch. In the fifth inning, shortstop Thomas Lindauer hit a leadoff single to left field, and Brown made a throwing error on a bunt by Ramsay. Phillips' sacrifice advanced both runners, and Brown fanned Davis for his seventh strikeout to match his season high. But Brown was removed with two outs for right-hander Alexis Paredes, who promptly walked Mitchell on four pitches to load the bases and proceeded to force home three more runs on subsequent walks to McDonald, designated hitter Brian Holberton and Wik. Due to Paredes walking all four batters he faced, Brown was charged with three runs - one earned - on three hits and one walk in 4 2/3 innings. Right-hander Justin Garcia entered to record the inning's final out.

In the sixth inning, Ramsay tripled down the first-base line with one out against Garcia and scored on Davis' sacrifice fly. Ramsay finished 2-for-2 with a sacrifice, walk, hit-by-pitch, and three runs, and he reached scoring position following each of his five plate appearances. McDonald added his eighth home run of the season and third of the month off right-hander Justin Brantley in the seventh inning.

Quad Cities seeks back-to-back wins for the first time in two weeks when it continues the series with Lake County at 5 p.m. Sunday. River Bandits right-hander Edison Frias (5-5) is scheduled to face Captains right-hander Jordan Milbrath (3-9).

UP NEXT: The Battle of the Badges between Davenport and Rock Island begins at 2:45 p.m. Sunday before the 5 p.m. River Bandits game. Fans may enter through the suites entrance at 2:30 p.m. Beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the main gates, the first 1,000 fans receive a Hy-Vee tote bag on a Family Sunday presented by 18th Street Bettendorf Dairy Queen, KWQC and B100. Pregame autographs are at 4:15 p.m., and the annual Mega Candy Drop in the outfield follows the 5 p.m. game. Tickets are available at www.riverbandits.com. To order any of the River Bandits 2014 ticket plans - with new lower prices - call the River Bandits box office at 563-324-3000. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $40. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.

ABOUT THE BANDITS: Having just been named Ballpark Digest's winner of Best Ballpark Improvement in America under $1 million, the River Bandits ownership recently made one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 105 feet over the playing field, opened May 24, and Space Camp opened June 20; the newly expanded 300-foot long zip line has also reopened. Soon to come is another new ride, this one called a "Drop and Twist." In 2013, the team unveiled a new 220-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, and a number of new bounce houses. Last season, the team's major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, saw all six of its affiliates reach the playoffs - the first time in a decade any MLB team can claim such success. The River Bandits were one of three affiliates to reach the championship round and one of two to win their league championship.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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