BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Brett Phillips hit the first pitch of the game for a home run, A.J. Reed homered for his first Midwest League hit and Chase McDonald hit the deciding home run Monday afternoon to lift the Quad Cities River Bandits to a 4-3 win and three-game series sweep of the Bowling Green Hot Rods at Bowling Green Ballpark.
The River Bandits (20-16 second half, 55-50 overall) completed their first sweep ever of Bowling Green (14-22, 46-59) to finish 5-1 on their six-game road trip to Eastern Division ballparks. Quad Cities won eight of its last nine games to finish with an inter-division record of 13-11 - the River Bandits' first winning inter-division record since 2011.
Phillips gave Quad Cities a 1-0 lead with his 10th home run of the season on the first pitch by Hot Rods left-hander Bruedlin Suero (2-3). It was Phillips' second career leadoff home run and first since April 27 in Peoria. It was Phillips' team-high sixth home run in July.
The Hot Rods took their only lead in the second inning against right-hander Adrian Houser (5-4). With one out. Hot Rods first baseman Alexander Simon singled to left field, left fielder Julian Ridings put a bunt single down the third-base line, and right fielder Darryl George hit a game-tying double to left field. Center fielder Spencer Edwards added a go-ahead RBI single to left field for a 2-1 lead.
Suero kept the 2-1 lead by retiring nine of 10 batters before allowing a one-out single to McDonald in the fourth inning. Reed then drove a 1-1 offering over the right-center field fence for a home run in the second at-bat of his Midwest League debut, giving his team a 3-2 lead.
The Hot Rods tied the game in the next half-inning, as George hit a two-out single and stole second base. Consecutive walks to Edwards and Smedley loaded the bases, and a wild pitch by Houser brought in the tying run. Houser then retired the next four hitters to complete five innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
In a 3-3 tie in the top of the sixth inning, McDonald hit a leadoff home run to right-center field off Suero for a 4-3 River Bandits advantage. It was McDonald's fifth home run in his last 13 games, and the River Bandits' sixth in the three-game series. Quad Cities has hit 25 July home runs - the most for the club since hitting 30 in 31 games in May 2012. Suero finished seven innings and was charged with four earned runs on eight hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Left-hander Stone Speer worked around a walk and hits by McDonald and third baseman J.D. Davis - who both had three hits - in two shutout innings.
River Bandits right-hander Kevin Comer began the sixth inning and worked around a double and walk in the sixth inning. The Hot Rods' best scoring threat came in the eighth inning, when Simon and Ridings hit consecutive one-out singles. On a wild pitch, Ridings broke from first base but was caught in a rundown by catcher Brian Holberton. When Simon broke for third base, Ridings reached second base, and Simon eluded a tag, but then broke for home plate with no player covering, until Ronnie Mitchell came in from left field to make the tag along the third-base line to cap a 2-3-5-4-1-7 scoring play for the second out. Comer then set down four in a row to earn his third save.
Quad Cities opens a three-game home series with Clinton (13-23, 43-61) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Modern Woodmen Park. River Bandits right-hander Andrew Thurman (4-6) is scheduled to face LumberKings right-hander Edwin Diaz (3-6).
UP NEXT: Gates open for the next River Bandits homestand at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, and the first 700 fans will receive a Jeff Bagwell Bobblehead courtesy of Hebrew National and CBS4 WHBF. Kids Eat Free and regular tickets are Buy-1-Get-1 Free for the 7 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.