DAVENPORT, IA - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers didn't make it easy, but they held on for a 5-4 win over the Quad Cities River Bandits at Modern Woodmen Park on Wednesday night. The Rattlers committed four errors, were outhit 9-6, and struck out eleven times, but managed to start their 13-game road trip with a victory over their division rivals.
Wisconsin (29-17) grabbed a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the second. Nick Ramirez started the inning with double and took third on an infield grounder. Parker Berberet's tough high bounding grounder was ruled an error on the shortstop and Ramirez scored. Yadiel Rivera was next and he smacked a 1-2 pitch inside the third base bag. Berberet hustled home with the second run of the inning.
Quad Cities (21-24) tied the game with single runs in the second and third innings. Juan Castillo started the second with a double. He took third on a single by Roberto De La Cruz and scored when the ball was kicked around in the outfield. In the third inning, Castillo drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly to right.
Chadwin Stang put the Rattlers back in front with a two-run single with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth inning.
Rattlers starting pitcher Matt Miller bounced back from a shaky start. Miller allowed four hits in the second inning and seven hits through the first two hitters of the top of the fourth. His defense bailed him out with three outfield assists in the first 3-1/3 innings. Then, Miller took over. The right-hander retired the last eleven batters he faced in the game. Miller finished his night after the seventh inning. He struck out four and walked one and left with a 4-2 lead.
The Rattlers picked up an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning. Ramirez doubled to start the frame. Pinch runner Max Walla would take over for Ramirez and eventually score on a sacrifice fly by Berberet.
The Bandits rallied in the eighth against Tommy Toledo with an unearned run. Luis Mateo reached on a dropped fly ball to left. Matt Williams was next and his double to right scored Mateo to make the score 5-3.
Seth Harvey took over for the bottom of the ninth and struck out the first batter he faced. Harvey walked Virgil Hill and Hill would take second base on defensive indifference. David Medina followed with a single to right and Hill ran through the stop sign at third to score the run. Walla committed an error on the play and Medina took second base with the tying run.
Harvey increased the degree of difficulty on the save by throwing a wild pitch on the first pitch to Roberto Reyes to allow pinch runner Casey Rasmus to take third with the tying run. Harvey walked Reyes on four pitches and the winning run was aboard.
Harvey bounced back to strike out Mateo on three pitches, but the final out was a doozy.
Williams hit a high bouncer in front of the mound. Harvey bobbled the ball momentarily and threw high to first. Jason Rogers made a leaping catch, dropped the tag on Williams, and held on to the baseball after a collision to record the final out.
Game two of the series is set for Thursday night at Modern Woodmen Park. Drew Gagnon (3-1, 2.36) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Sam Gaviglio (2-3, 5.11) is set to start for the River Bandits. Game time is 7:00pm.
Tune in for the action on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame show at 6:40pm.
WP: Matt Miller (3-4)
LP: Kyle Hald (0-3)
SAVE: Seth Harvey (9)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.