DAYTON, Ohio - Dayne Parker hit his first professional home run in the fourth inning, and Marc Wik provided the only two other hits for the Quad Cities River Bandits, but left-hander Chris Lee and right-hander Andrew Thurman made them enough in the team's fifth straight victory - a 4-2 win over the Dayton Dragons in front of 8,368 at Fifth Third Field Thursday night.
In his first start since July 6, Lee (6-5) gave the River Bandits (17-15 second half, 52-49 overall) their sixth straight starting effort of at least five innings, and fourth start in the last five games without allowing an earned run. He retired the first four batters of the game and induced two ground-ball double plays to face just two batters over the minimum in five innigns. He allowed only two batters to reach scoring position - Dragons center fielder Nick Benedetto on a third-inning double, and left fielder Gabriel Rosa on a walk, stolen base and groundout in the fifth inning that put him at third base. Lee allowed three hits and one walk without a strikeout, but he has allowed just one run in 16 innings across his first three second-half starts. He also won his fourth straight positive decision since June 29.
Right-hander Dan Langfield (2-2) was the second straight Dragons starter to strike out all three batters in the first inning. He struck out the first four River Bandits he faced and did not allow a baserunner before issuing a leadoff walk in the third inning to designated hitter Brett Booth. With one out, Parker and center fielder James Ramsay drew consecutive walks to load the bases. Right fielder Brett Phillips struck out, but third baseman J.D. Davis drew a full-count, two-out walk to force in the game's first run. Left fielder Ronnie Mitchell struck out to end the inning, but the River Bandits had a 1-0 lead without the help of a hit.
In the fourth inning, first baseman Chase McDonald drew a leadoff walk, and Wik hit a two-out single to right field - his team's first hit - to put runners at first and third bases. Parker then swatted the next pitch over the left-field fence - a three-run home run that gave him a career-high three RBIs and his first home run in 15 professional games. Langfield was charged with all four earned runs on two hits and five walks with seven strikeouts in the first four innings.
Beginning with the fifth inning, three Dragons relievers - right-handers Radhames Quezada, Nick Howard and Pedro Diaz - combined to allow just three baserunners, including Wik's second single to left field. The Dayton bullpen combined for one walk and one strikeout.
Thurman began the sixth inning with a 4-0 lead. Dragons shortstop Carlton Daal hit a one-out double down the left-field line and scored on designated hitter Jonathan Reynoso's RBI single to center field for the first Dayton run in 12 innings against the River Bandits. In the seventh inning, third baseman Avain Rachal drew a leadoff walk, stole second base, went to third base on a flyout, and scored on Benedetto's RBI double to the left-field corner, cutting the visitors' lead to 4-2.
Facing the tying run at the plate, Thurman struck out second baseman Ronald Bueno to end the seventh inning and retired six in a row before Rosa's two-out single in the ninth. But first baseman Robert Ramirez grounded back to Thurman for the final out. Thurman allowed two earned runs on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts for his second career save and first in the Midwest League. Dayton (14-18, 50-50) lost its fourth straight game despite outhitting Quad Cities, 7-3.
Quad Cities seeks to match its season-high six-game winning streak and earn its first sweep in Dayton since July 24-26, 2010 at 6:07 p.m. Central on Friday. River Bandits right-hander Jandel Gustave (5-5) is scheduled to face Dragons right-hander Nick Travieso (8-5).
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.