Visalia, CA - Rancho Cucamonga suffered a bizarre loss on Wednesday night, as the Visalia Rawhide scored three times in the bottom of the ninth inning to down the Quakes, 5-4 at Recreation Park in Visalia.
Closer Rob Rogers suffered an unthinkable defeat, as second baseman Brandon Dixon made two errors and then got plowed into by a base-runner on the decisive play, capping Visalia's three-run rally.
Rogers (2-8) allowed a base hit to open the inning, then allowed the tying run to reach, as Dixon committed his first of two errors. Rogers rebounded to fan the next two hitters, then got Socrates Brito to hit a slow chopper to Dixon, who was again unable to make the play. A wild pitch allowed Breland Almadova to score, making it 4-3. A walk to Ronnie Freeman loaded the bases, bringing up Kevin Medrano, who followed with another slow chopper to Dixon, that turned out to be a heart-breaking play. As Dixon charged the ball, Freeman ran right into him, knocking him to the ground as he leaned down to field the ball. As Dixon fell to the ground, the ball trickled into right field, allowing two runs to score to end the game. Manager PJ Forbes rushed onto the field to argue the call, but was immediately ejected by base umpire Lewis Williams, who wouldn't overturn or ask for help on the controversial call.
Quakes' starter Luis Chirinos turned in his second straight solid performance, but watched a potential win get away for a second straight start. Chirinos, who left the game after five innings, allowed just one run on two hits, fanning five without issuing a single walk.
Leading 4-1 after Chirinos' departure, the Quakes turned to reliever Gustavo Gomez, who worked a 1-2-3 sixth, but did allow a run in the seventh, as Alex Glenn and Rudy Flores hit back-to-back doubles to make it 4-2.
Dan Tillman followed Gomez by facing just three men in a scoreless eighth, using a double-play to thwart a would-be Visalia rally.
Rancho got an early run in the first and eventually jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Brandon Dixon singled with one out, then scored on a two-out single by Chris Jacobs, putting the Quakes up 1-0.
The Quakes added three more in the fourth, using an error to round out their scoring against Visalia starter John Omahen (3-3). Aaron Miller opened the inning with his 13th round-tripper of the year, making it 2-0. Dillon Moyer chased home Adam Law with an RBI single, putting the Quakes up 3-0. A dropped fly ball by Socrates Brito, off the bat of James Baldwin, allowed the final run to tally, as Pratt Maynard scored from third to make it 4-0.
Chirinos suffered his only blemish of the night in the fifth, when Ronnie Freeman capped a ten-pitch at-bat with his third homer of the year, as Visalia pulled to within three, at 4-1.
Visalia reliever Daniel Gibson (4-3) got the win with a scoreless ninth.
With the loss, Rancho (29-30, 61-68) misses out on a chance to join both Lake Elsinore and Lancaster at the top of the second-half South Division standings.
Now with 11 games to play in the regular season, the Quakes are still one game back of first in the second half standings and tied with High Desert for the third best overall record in the Wild Card standings.
Tom Windle (11-7) will take on Visalia's Blayne Weller (2-2) in the final game of the three-game series on Thursday night at 7:00pm.
The Quakes return to LoanMart Field on Friday, opening a six-game home stand, their final home stand of the regular season. On Friday night, fans will enjoy the final Family RV $1 Family Feast of the year, as hot dogs, Pepsi products and ice cream sandwiches are just $1 throughout the night. Game time in the series-opener will be 7:05pm. Tickets are available by calling (909) 481-5000. We hope to see you very soon at LoanMart Field. Go Quakes!