GRAND CHUTE, WI - Tyler Thornburg struck out 10 over seven innings and picked up the victory as the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers edged the Lake County Captains 5-4 Thursday night at Time Warner Cable Field. The Rattlers win was coupled with a loss by Quad Cities to allow Wisconsin to move to within a game of the Western Division Wild Card spot with ten games remaining in the first half.
Reggie Keen got the Rattlers (32-28) on the board first when he scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first inning.
But, the Captains (28-32) rallied for a pair of runs with two outs in the top of the second inning. An RBI double by Brian Heere was followed by an RBI single off the bat of Argenis Martinez to give Lake County a 2-1 lead.
Thornburg shut the Captains down the rest of the time he was in the game. The Rattlers right-hander retired the final 16 batters he faced. Thornburg matched his career high for strikeouts in a game with 10 and walked one. He gave up four hits, all in the second inning, but needed the Wisconsin bats to get going to put himself in line for his sixth win of the season.
Chris Dennis delivered in the third with a two-run single to put the Rattlers up 3-2. Cody Hawn knocked in a run with a double in the fourth. Greg Hopkins, who moved his hitting streak to nine games earlier in the night, clubbed an RBI double off the wall in left in the sixth and the Rattlers were up 5-2.
Thornburg turned the game over to the bullpen in the eighth inning, but Wisconsin needed three pitchers to get through the frame. Eric Marzec got the first out, but a single and a walk put two runners on base. Ronny Rodriguez singled in a run and knocked Marzec out of the game.
Tom Keeling struck out the next batter for the second out, but walked the second batter he faced to load the bases.
Rattlers closer Greg Holle got the final out of the inning with a grounder to third.
In the top of the ninth, the first two Lake County hitters reached on singles against Holle. A sacrifice bunt moved the tying runs into scoring position. An RBI grounder by Martinez made the score 5-4 and sent the tying run to third with two outs.
Holle walked a batter on a 3-2 pitch to put runners on the corners. But, Holle finally closed out the game when he got Rodriguez to ground out to third base. Holle is 13 for 13 in save opportunities this season.
Quad Cities lost 2-0 to Lansing on Thursday night to fall to 33-27. Wisconsin trails the River Bandits by one game for the first half Western Division Wild Card. The River Bandits have nine games left in the half. The Rattlers have ten games left in the half.
Wisconsin starts a series with the Fort Wayne TinCaps on Friday night at Time Warner Cable Field at 7:05pm. Brooks Hall (2-0, 3.27) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Fort Wayne has Adys Portillo (1-6, 7.32) as their scheduled starting pitcher.
Friday night is a North Shore Bank/95.9 KISS-FM Family Night at the ballpark. As part of Family Night children 12 and under eat free. After the game, 95.9 KISS-FM presents the first fireworks display of the 2011 season! After the fireworks, Fazoli's invites children 14 and under to participate in Kids Run the Bases.
Also, the first 500 fans will receive a complimentary special Timber Rattlers edition of Inside Wisconsin Sports Magazine.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark on Friday night, tune in for the Broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com for the broadcast starting at 6:45pm.
WP: Tyler Thornburg (6-0)
LP: Kyle Blair (3-4)
SAVE: Greg Holle (13)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.