DAYTON, Ohio - Trailing 3-0 through three innings Wednesday night, the Quad Cities River Bandits rallied for six unanswered runs, using consecutive two-run doubles by Ronnie Mitchell and Chase McDonald in a four-run eighth inning for a 6-3 win over the Dayton Dragons in front of 8,216 at Fifth Third Field.
Despite a game that saw intermittent rain showers and the visitors commit four errors in their first visit to Dayton as an Astros affiliate, Quad Cities (16-15 second half, 51-49 overall) achieved a four-game winning streak for the first time in the second half. Dayton (14-17, 50-49) lost its third straight despite playing in front of its North American professional sports record 1,031st consecutive home sellout.
One streak did end to help the Dragons take their lead in the second inning against right-hander Kevin Comer. River Bandits center fielder James Ramsay had not committed an error in his first 154 professional games, but a second-inning single by Dragons designated hitter Avain Rachal took a short hop through Ramsay's legs, allowing left fielder Phillip Ervin to score the game's first run from first base and Rachal to reach second base. It was the first error in 87 games and 159 fielding chances for Ramsay this season and the first in 293 chances in his career. Rachal later stole third base and scored when catcher Brian Holberton overthrew third base.
The Dragons' lead grew in the third inning, when second baseman Jamodrick McGruder drew a leadoff walk, stole second base and went to third base on Holberton's throw into center field, and scored on the first of Comer's two wild pitches. Comer recovered to scatter three hits without allowing a run in the rest of his five-inning start. Comer was charged with three runs - two earned - on six hits and one walk with a career-high eight strikeouts, including striking out the side in the fifth inning.
Dragons right-hander Sal Romano struck out all three batters in the first inning and kept Quad Cities to one hit through the first three innings. In the fourth inning, right fielder Brett Phillips lined a leadoff double over third baseman Ronald Bueno and went to third base on McDonald's two-out infield single. Holberton drew a walk to load the bases. Second baseman Marc Wik then grounded a ball to McGruder, whose throw pulled first baseman Robert Ramirez off the base, continuing the inning and allowing Phillips to score. Left fielder Jose Fernandez then hit an RBI single to left field. Romano escaped the inning and kept the 3-2 lead through five innings, allowing no earned runs on four hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
Left-hander Albert Minnis (2-1) followed Comer with three shutout innings, working around two eighth-inning hits. It gave Quad Cities a chance to take the lead against left-hander Joel Bender (4-2). After facing the minimum through his first two innings after Romano, Bender hit Ramsay with a pitch to lead off the eighth inning. Philllips put down a bunt single, and third baseman J.D. Davis singled to left-center field. With the bases loaded Mitchell doubled off the right-field wall, scoring two runs for a 4-3 lead. With runners at second and third bases, McDonald doubled off the center-field wall but was thrown out at third base.
The 6-3 lead was enough for right-hander Tyler Brunnemann to earn his third save with a perfect ninth inning. The win was the first for the River Bandits this season in 11 games in which they have committed at least three errors.
Quad Cities continues its series in Dayton at 6 p.m. Central on Thursday. River Bandits left-hander Chris Lee (5-5) is scheduled to face Dragons right-hander Dan Langfield (2-1).
UP NEXT: The River Bandits are in the running for the 2014 Quad-City Times Readers' Choice Awards in the categories of "Best Entertainment Venue," "Best Family Entertainment," "Best Place for a Kid's Birthday Party," and "Best Place to Take Out of Town Guest". 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.