The Quad Cities River Bandits went down quietly on Wednesday night, falling behind early on a first-inning homer by Ben Guez and failing to break through against hurler Brandon Hamilton during a 4-0 loss to the West Michigan Whitecaps at Modern Woodmen Park.
In a stretch spent playing against the top two teams in the Midwest League, Quad Cities (10-14, 40-54) has managed just one run during four straight losses - three against the Fort Wayne TinCaps and now the series-opener against the Whitecaps. Meanwhile, West Michigan (16-9, 59-36) won for the seventh time in their last nine games.
The first time River Bandits and Whitecaps met - On May 26 in Grand Rapids - Guez hit a three-run homer in the first inning of the series-opener to spark a three-game sweep in which West Michigan never trailed.
The River Bandits hope that the déjà vu experienced on Wednesday night at Modern Woodmen Park only goes so far.
After a double and a walk opened the top of the first inning, Guez drove on 0-1 pitch the other way that cleared the ribbon board on the right field wall for a three-run homer. Before an out had been recorded, the 22-year-old outfielder's eighth homer of the year - and third in four games against Quad Cities - gave the Whitecaps a 3-0 lead.
That was plenty of run support for Hamilton, who fired off six shutout innings while allowing just three hits and fanning four. After retiring the first five men he faced the Bandits rallied for three hits during a four-batter stretch, but the 2007 supplemental first-rounder answered by setting down 12 of the next 14 batters to finish his outing.
West Michigan added an unearned run in the fourth after a leadoff single by Jordan Lennerton led to a run-scoring knock by Avisail Garcia later in the frame.
Miguel Tapia (4-3) took the loss for Quad Cities, yielding four runs - three earned - on six hits over five frames. He threw far better than the numbers indicated, as Guez's homer in the first barely scraped past the 320-foot wall in right and accounted for the only earned runs of the night.
UP NEXT: The River Bandits continue a six-game homestand with a Thirst-day Thursday featuring $2 drink specials and the rescheduled Autism Night festivities that include a special jersey auction, a Hillary Clinton bobblehead doll giveaway and a post-game concert by vodkaseven. The ZOOperstars! presented by Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center will be in town Friday to entertain the crowd, while fans will also be treated to post-game fireworks. The weekend continues on a Rockin' Saturday with a River Bandits hat giveaway for the first 2,000 fans thanks to Pepsi and a live concert by Minus Six. Rascal will celebrate his birthday with Mascot Mania on a U.S. Bank Family Sunday in which fans arriving early will receive a 2009 Team Photo from Heartland Chiropractic and kids that stay late will enjoy a marshmallow rainstorm during the FIRST EVER MEGA-CANDY DROP!!! Eventually, the homestand will conclude with a special 1:00 p.m. start time for Super Splash Day on Monday.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: The Quad Cities River Bandits drew more than 103,000 fans in the first half of the season for only the third time in team history. Ticket sales, concessions, merchandise sales, sponsorships and even Kids' Zone revenues are all up over last season, which was one of the team's best in history! Banditwear, mini-plans, and individual game tickets are on sale for the 2009 season by calling (563) 3-BANDIT or heading to www.RiverBandits.com. But hurry - good seats are going fast!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.