GRAND CHUTE, WI - Good things happen to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers when Jason Rogers mashes the baseball. Wisconsin's first baseman had three hits including a two-run homer, on Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium and the Rattlers beat the Kane County Cougars 7-3. The win by the Rattlers and a loss by the Beloit Snappers allowed Wisconsin to move into a tie atop the Western Division of the Midwest League with 27 games remaining in the first half.
But, Kane County (23-20) scored first on Saturday. A two-out double by Lane Adams scored Daniel Mateo from first base for a 1-0 Cougars lead.
Wisconsin (26-17) answered with three straight runs. Yadiel Rivera doubled with one out in the second inning. Rafael Neda drove in Rivera with a double to tie the game. In the third inning, Rogers - with Max Walla aboard - crushed his fifth home run of the season. The tape-measure shot put the Rattlers up 3-1.
Rattlers starting pitcher Chad Thompson retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the fourth inning. Then, Murray Watts doubled and Dean Espy homered to left-center and the score was tied 3-3. Thompson struck out seven and walked none over four innings.
Rivera snatched the lead back in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Brewers shortstop prospect hit a leadoff home run off Kellen Moen to put Wisconsin up 4-3. Later in the inning, Walla singled to send in Carlos George for a 5-3 lead.
Reliever Mark Williams entered the game and protected that lead. He went five innings and did not allow a hit. Williams walked two and struck out two while keeping the Cougars from mounting a rally.
Wisconsin added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh inning. Greg Hopkins doubled in a run and Rivera knocked in his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly to account for the 7-3 score.
The Rattlers outhit the Bees 14-6 in the game.
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez completed his rehabilitation assignment on Saturday night. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and a nice running catch in deep right-center field.
Beloit entered play their Saturday night game in Burlington against the Bees with a one game lead on the Timber Rattlers in the Western Division. Beloit had a 6-1 lead after a six run third inning. But, the Bees rallied with single runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to make the score close. Burlington took the lead for good with a five run seventh inning and went on to a 9-6 victory.
Wisconsin and Beloit each lead Kane County by three games for the first half Western Division Wild Card.
But, there is still a long way to go in the half.
The series between Wisconsin and Kane County continues on Sunday afternoon. David Goforth (3-3, 6.27) is the scheduled starting pitcher and Fond du Lac native Chad Pierce is set to come on in relief for the Timber Rattlers. Kane County sends Brooks Pounders (2-1, 3.38) to the mound. Game time is 1:05pm.
The first 1,000 fans to attend Sunday's game will receive a special baseball cap from North Shore Bank. Before the game fans can play catch on-field courtesy of 77 KIDS. Timber Rattlers players will be available for an autograph session after the game. Time Warner Cable customers can receive up to four half-priced reserved bleacher tickets when showing their TWC bill at time of ticket purchase.
Plus, as part of Brewers Sunday presented by 107.5, The Fan, Timber Rattlers players will be wearing Brewers-themed jerseys on-field during the game.
If you can't make it out to the stadium, tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 12:45pm. Sunday's game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
Dean Espy (1st, 1 on in 4th inning off Chad Thompson, 2 out)
Jason Rogers (5th, 1 on in 3rd inning off Kellen Moen, 0 out)
Yadiel Rivera (4th, 0 on in 4th inning, off Kellen Moen, 0 out)
WP: Mark Williams (2-3)
LP: Kellen Moen (2-2)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.