Clinton, IA - Left-hander Austin Warner struck out 11 batters over 7 2/3 innings as the Peoria Chiefs beat the Clinton LumberKings Monday night to regain the Western Division Wild Card lead. The win moves the Chiefs to 25-19 in the second half, a half-game ahead of Beloit who lost to Quad Cities 8-5 Monday.
The Chiefs fell behind the hosts in the bottom of the second inning. Yojhan Quevedo doubled and with one out Gareth Morgan singled to center for a 1-0 Clinton lead. Nick Thuman followed with a single but Warner struck out the next two batters to end the frame and start a run of 18 in a row set down in order.
While Warner was mowing through the LumberKings lineup, the Chiefs were racking up hits against Steven Ridings but were unable to score. That changed in the sixth when Brian O'Keefe led off with his 50th career double and moved to third on a single by Stefan Trosclair. Trosclair took second on the off-target throw back in from left field and both runners scored when Juan Yepez singled to right. The next two Chiefs reached as well but reliever Jeffeson Medina ended the inning with the bases loaded and the Chiefs up 2-1.
The Chiefs added on against Medina in the eighth. Trosclair singled and Yepez followed with his third hit of the game. Clinton third baseman Joe Rizzo dropped a foul pop-up for an error with Vince Jackson batting and a fielders' choice scored Trosclair as shortstop Bryson Brigman threw the ball past Medina at first base.
With a 3-1 lead, Warner ran his streak to 18 retired in a row before walking Billy Cooke with one out in the eighth. He recovered for his 11th strikeout of the night to get Johnny Slater on pitch 101. Max Almonte took over and finished the game for his first save of the year.
Warner (2-2) picked up the win as he struck out a career-high 11 over a career-high 7 2/3 innings. He walked one, allowed three hits and one run. Almonte earned his first save of the season as he walked one and struck out one over 1 1/3 hitless and shutout innings.
Notes…O'Keefe's RBI streak ended at five games…He is the 9th player in team history to have 800 career at-bats, the 6th to have 350 total bases, the 8th to have 50 doubles and he is now 8th on the hits list with 210…Robertson has a five-game hit streak…Trosclair has a seven-game hit streak…Yepez has three 3-hit games…Warner's 11 strikeout tally is the second highest for a Chiefs hurler this season behind Mike O'Reilly's 12 on July 10 at Cedar Rapids…There have been five games this season in which Chiefs pitchers have struck out at least 10, the last being O'Reilly's final start on July 15 against Fort Wayne…O'Reilly struck out 10 or more three times and Austin Sexton did so against Clinton in June…Warner has 19 strikeouts in his last two starts…The 18 batters in a row finished three behind the season mark set by O'Reilly when he retired the first 21 on July 21…The series finishes Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. as the Chiefs send RH Anthony Shew (0-0 4.87) to the mound against Clinton LH Nick Wells (5-8, 6.10)…The broadcast can be heard, starting with the pregame show at 6:15 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive which also has downloads for a free app on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android… The broadcast is also available on the Peoria Chiefs Radio Network in the Tune-In Radio App.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.