GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers got back to their winning ways with a 6-2 win over the Clinton LumberKings Wednesday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Clint Coulter drove in three runs and Preston Gainey picked up his second straight victory for the Rattlers.
Wisconsin (65-55 overall, 29-22 second half) took the lead with an unearned run in the bottom of the third inning. Johnny Davis bunted back to the mound with one out and reached when the ball was mishandled. Chris McFarland followed with a hit-and-run single to right to get Davis to third. Michael Ratterree dropped a single into right field to knock in Davis for a 1-0 lead.
Joe DeCarlo doubled to lead off the fifth inning for Clinton (52-67, 22-29). Gainey, Wisconsin's starting pitcher, got the next two batters and kept DeCarlo at second base. Then, Gainey jammed Brett Thomas on a 3-2 pitch, but Thomas would reach on an infield single when he beat the throw to first on his slow roller to short. Gainey would get two strikes on Martin Peguero, but the LumberKings second baseman lined a single to left to drive in DeCarlo with the tying run.
Davis started the Wisconsin fifth inning with a single and was at second base with two outs. David Denson's grounder to third was misplayed for an error and Davis had to hold on at second. Coulter worked the count full before lining a double into the corner in right. The runners were off on the payoff pitch and both Davis and Denson scored for a 3-1 lead.
The first three runs of the game for the Rattlers were scored off Clinton starting pitcher Seon-Gi Kim and all three runs were unearned as the Rattlers made the LumberKings pay for their defensive miscues.
Angel Ortega doubled in the bottom of the sixth inning and would eventually cross home plate on an run-scoring fielder's choice by Chris McFarland for a 4-1 advantage.
Rattlers starting pitcher Preston Gainey left after five innings. He allowed one run on five hits and struck out eight without walking a batter.
Luke Curtis pitched a scoreless sixth, but allowed an RBI double to Peguero in the top of the seventh that cut Wisconsin's lead to 4-2. The double by Peguero also put runners at second and third with one out in the inning, but Curtis got out of the inning with a strikeout and a flyout to center.
The Rattlers added a pair of insurance runs without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the seventh. Clinton reliever Kevin McCoy walked Ratterree and Denson to start the inning. McCoy would uncork a wild pitch with Coulter at the plate that got past catcher Christian Carmichael, who didn't spot the ball right away. Ratterree hit third base at full speed and raced for home to score from second on the wild pitch. Denson, who took third on the wild pitch, would score on a sacrifice fly by Coulter for a 6-2 lead.
Curtis worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Chris Razo pitched a scoreless ninth to close out Clinton.
Wisconsin maintained their playoff position with their victory on Wednesday night. The Rattlers remained one game behind Cedar Rapids in the Western Division title race and stayed two games in front of Peoria for the Western Division Wild Card. The Kernels beat Beloit 6-1 and Peoria won 10-7 at Burlington. There are nineteen games remaining in the regular season.
Game three of the series is Thursday night. Javier Salas (0-0, 2.70) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Eddie Campbell (8-8, 5.13) is set to start for the LumberKings. Game time is 7:05pm.
Thursday night is a Thirsty Thursday presented by Arty's Old Fashioned and 95.9 KISS FM with 21-oz Pepsi products, 16-oz Miller products, or Arty's Old Fashioned drinks for just $2.
There are a pair of giveaways on Thursday night, too. The weather didn't cooperate back in April so the Brett Lawrie bobblehead has been rescheduled to August 14. The first 500 fans to attend this game will receive a bobblehead of the former Timber Rattlers All-Star second baseman courtesy of Ansay & Associates. The first 1,000 fans to attend this game will receive a poster featuring Timber Rattlers outfielder Michael Ratterree from Dunkin Donuts. This is poster number nine in a series of ten that are being given away this season.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, there are several ways to catch the action. Time Warner Cable SportsChannel will have the television broadcast starting at 7:00pm. The radio broadcast may be heard on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:45pm. Thursday's game is also available to MiLB.TV subscribers.
WP: Preston Gainey (5-7)
LP: Seon-Gi Kim (1-3)