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Bandits blast Hot Rods to win 9-2 series opener
Quad Cities has four-run fifth and sixth innings to pick up sixth win in last seven games
07/27/2014 12:27 AM ET
Blaine Sims pitched a season-high six innings to earn the win Saturday. (Sean Flynn Photography)

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Designated hitter Ronnie Mitchell and center fielder Brett Phillips each hit two-run home runs in the Quad Cities River Bandits' go-ahead, four-run fifth inning, and left-hander Blaine Sims held the Bowling Green Hot Rods to two runs in a six-inning start for a 9-2 win at Bowling Green Ballpark Saturday night.

Phillips, Mitchell, and shortstop Thomas Lindauer each drove in two runs, and seven River Bandits contributed a hit and a run to a 13-hit showing and the team's highest scoring effort since July 11. Dayne Parker had a game-high three hits for the first time with Quad Cities.

Sims (2-2) had his longest Midwest League start and overcame seven walks - matching his career high and setting a season high by a pitcher for Quad Cities (18-16 second half, 53-50 overall). He allowed two runs - one earned - on five hits with three strikeouts. In the first inning, his two-out walk to Hot Rods catcher Oscar Hernandez led to a run after a passed ball, wild pitch and single by third baseman Ty Young. Sims picked Young off first base to end the inning and got a ground-ball double play to end a bases-loaded jam in the second.

The Hot Rods (14-20, 46-57) nearly added to the 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, as left fielder Darryl George hit a one-out double to center field, and center fielder Julian Ridings singled to center field. But Phillips threw to catcher Brian Holberton to get George at home plate for his 13th outfield assist of the season - a mark tied for best in the Midwest League.

Hot Rods right-hander D.J. Slaton (0-1) got ground-ball double plays in each of the first two innings to face one batter over the minimum through the first four innings. In the top of the fifth inning, third baseman J.D. Davis hit a leadoff double down the left-field line, and Mitchell drove the next Slaton pitch to the left of the scoreboard in right-center field for his team-high 13th home run and a 2-1 lead. With two outs, Lindauer reached on a fielding error by third baseman Ty Young, and Phillips followed with his eighth home run to almost the exact same spot as Mitchell's home run.

With a 4-1 lead, Sims walked three batters in the bottom of the fifth inning but only allowed one run on a sacrifice fly by catcher Oscar Hernandez. With Sims on the mound, Bowling Green left seven runners on base, including five in scoring position.

In the sixth inning, Slaton began with a 4-2 deficit and began by allowing first baseman Chase McDonald's double to left-center field, Holberton's single to right field and Davis' RBI single to center field. Slaton was lifted with no outs for right-hander Josh Kimborowicz, who got Mitchell to hit into a fielder's choice before second baseman Dayne Parker hit an RBI single, and Lindauer dropped a two-run single in front of George in left field for an 8-2 lead. Slaton was charged with seven runs - five earned - on eight hits and one walk with three strikeouts in five innings. Kimborowicz gave up four hits and one earned run with three strikeouts in three relief innings.

Following Sims, right-hander Andrew Walter pitched three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk with three strikeouts to earn his team-high ninth save. Quad Cities added a ninth-inning run when Phillips doubled, reached third base on an error and scored on a groundout by left fielder Marc Wik.

Quad Cities has won six of seven games and continues its series in Bowling Green at 2:05 p.m. Sunday. River Bandits right-hander Edison Frias (6-5) is scheduled to face Hot Rods right-hander Jake Faria (6-5).

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.

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