GRAND CHUTE, WI - It wasn't easy, but the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers ended their six game losing streak. The Rattlers edged the Quad Cities River Bandits 3-2 on Tuesday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Chad Thompson pitched six strong innings and the Rattlers offense squeaked out just enough runs to defeat the Bandits.
River Bandits starting pitcher Willy Paulino made his first start - after 21 relief appearances - of the season and it looked like it. Chadwin Stang singled to start the bottom of the first. Then, Paulino hit Brandon Macias and Ryan Haniger to load the bases with no outs.
Nick Ramirez and Greg Hopkins drew back-to-back walks to force in two runs and give the Timber Rattlers (45-29 overall, 1-4 second half) a 2-0 lead. But, Paulino struck out the next two batters and got a force out to hold the Rattlers to a pair of first inning runs.
Quad Cities (38-36, 3-2) struck back in the top of the second inning. David Medina hit a solo homer with one out and cut the Rattlers lead to 2-1.
Thompson recovered after the homer and didn't allow another hit. The tall right-hander went six innings, walked two, and struck out eight. The eight strikeouts set a single game high as a professional for Thompson.
The Rattlers hitters rewarded Thompson with an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Max Walla's two-out RBI single drove in Ben McMahan and put the Rattlers up 3-1 with Jacob Barnes coming on in relief.
Barnes worked two scoreless innings before Tommy Toledo entered for the ninth. Toledo gave up a single to the leadoff hitter, but would get a 6-4-3 double play to bring the Rattlers one out from victory. But, it wasn't easy to slay the six-game losing streak.
Juan Castillo singled and gave way to pinch runner Casey Rasmus. Toledo hit the next batter to put the tying run on base and bring Roberto De La Cruz to bat. The River Bandits first baseman lined a 1-0 pitch from Toledo high off the wall in left to score Rasmus. The throw went to third and De La Cruz, who held at first after the long single took second on that throw to move into scoring position with the go ahead run.
But, Toledo ended the game - and the losing streak - by striking out Neal Pritchard.
Rattlers pitchers combined for twelve strikeouts on the evening.
The final game of the three game series between the Western Division rivals is Wednesday evening at 7:05pm. Matt Miller (5-5, 3.87) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Quad Cities had not named a starting pitcher, but it is believed to be Tyrell Jenkins (1-2, 4.74), who needs to be activated from the River Bandits disabled list before the game.
Wednesday night is a 105.7, WAPL Bang for Your Buck Night with soda, hot dogs, and beer available for $1. Plus, Hardee's and Happy Star will be at the ballpark with t-shirt giveaways, coupons and more for Hardee's Night.
If you can't make it to the ballpark, tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:45pm. Wednesday's game is also available to MiLB.TV subscribers.
David Medina (5th, 0 on in 2nd inning off Chad Thompson, 1 out)
WP: Chad Thompson (3-1)
LP: Willy Paulino (2-5)
SAVE: Tommy Toledo (3)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.