BURLINGTON, IA - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers scored three runs in the top of the first inning at Community Field on Sunday afternoon. The Rattlers held on for a 4-2 win over the Burlington Bees. Wisconsin's victory prevented Burlington from clinching a playoff spot on their home field.
Wisconsin (76-61 overall, 32-36 second half) grabbed a 3-0 lead with three runs in the top of the first inning. Brandon Macias started the game with his 35th double of the season. Ben McMahan followed with a single to put runners on the corners. A one-out single by Cameron Garfield drove in Macias for a 1-0 lead. Yadiel Rivera followed with a single that scored McMahan from second and sent Garfield to third base. Mike Garza capped the scoring in the inning with a sacrifice fly.
Burlington (67-70, 35-33) got two runs on a two-out single by Addison Russell in the bottom of the third to cut the Rattlers lead to a single run.
Nick Ramirez doubled with two outs in the top of the fifth inning and Garfield drove him home with a single and the Rattlers were up 4-2.
Rattlers starting pitcher David Goforth worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning and put himself in line for his tenth win of the season.
Bees starter Drew Granier struck out twelve Rattlers in six innings to set a professional career high for strikeouts in a single game, but he left with his team down 4-2. Granier leads the Midwest League in strikeouts with 167 this season.
Rattlers reliever Kevin Shackelford allowed the leadoff batter to reach in the sixth and seventh innings, but stranded that runner each time. In the eighth, Burlington's first two batters reached on singles and were sacrificed to second and third. Shackelford struck out the final two batters of the inning to leave the tying runs in scoring position.
Michael Strong entered the game in the bottom of the ninth and retired the Bees in order for his third save of the season.
The Timber Rattlers and Bees will play a doubleheader against the Bees on Monday to make up for the game that was rained out on Saturday night. The first seven inning game will start at 2:00pm. Wisconsin will send Chad Thompson (4-2, 4.48) to hill as their starting pitcher. Burlington has Blake Hassebrock (2-1, 3.27) as their scheduled starter. Neither team has announced a game two starter.
Burlington could clinch a playoff spot on Sunday if Kane County loses to Peoria on Sunday night. But, the doubleheader will still be needed to decide if the Rattlers or the Beloit Snappers would have home field advantage in a potential second round playoff matchup between the two Wisconsin-based Midwest League teams.
Wisconsin currently has a one game lead on the Snappers (76-63) for the best overall record in the Western Division. If Wisconsin wins one of the two games in the doubleheader, they will finish with a better overall record than Beloit. The Rattlers would host games two and three in the Western Division Finals against Beloit, if both teams make it through the first round of the playoffs.
Tune in for Monday's doubleheader on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 1:40pm.
WP: David Goforth (10-8)
LP: Drew Granier (11-10)
SAVE: Michael Strong (3)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.