Peoria, IL- The Peoria Chiefs fell to the Beloit Snappers 6-3 in the series opener on Tuesday night though they stay one game out of first place and one game up in the wild card race with five games to play. The Chiefs are now 36-29 overall with game two of the series scheduled for Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
Elehuris Montero helped the Chiefs jump out to another early lead in the bottom of the first against Snappers starter Mitchell Jordan. Irving Lopez lined a one-out single to right and Montero doubled him home on a hard-hit ball to right-center for a 1-0 advantage.
Beloit took the lead in the top of the third on Chiefs starter Paul Balestrieri. Mickey McDonald doubled to right with one out and Trace Loehr scored him on another double to right field to tie the game. The run snapped Balestrieri's 13 1/3 scoreless innings streak and Austin Beck drove in Loehr with a single to move ahead 2-1.
The Snappers pushed across a run in the top of the fourth inning. Ryan Gridley led off with a single to right and JaVon Shelby walked to put two runners on. Nick Allen grounded into a fielder's choice when Montero stepped on third but he threw the ball away from first as the throwing error moved both runners into scoring position with one out. McDonald walked to load the bases and Loehr brought Shelby home on a sacrifice fly to right field for a 3-1 lead.
Peoria answered quickly in the bottom of the fourth. Yariel Gonzalez pulled a double down the right field line and scored on a single up the middle by Julio Rodriguez to cut the deficit to 3-2.
The Chiefs tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Nick Plummer drew a one-out walk followed by a Irving Lopez single to right. With two outs, Gonzalez doubled to left center as Plummer scored to knot the game 3-3. Beloit changed pitchers and Heath Bowers struck out Julio Rodriguez to leave two Chiefs in scoring position.
The back and forth game continued in the top of the sixth when the Snappers regained the lead. Balestrieri hit Shelby and Allen then exited the game as Thomas St. Clair entered out of the bullpen. McDonald bunted both runners into scoring position with one out. Loehr ripped a base hit down the right field line to plate Shelby and Allen to move back in front 5-3 but Loehr was thrown out at second.
An unearned run served as insurance for Beloit in the top of the ninth against reliever Bryan Dobzanski. McDonald reached on an infield single and he stole second base. A fielding error by Lopez at second on a groundball from Loehr scored McDonald as the Snappers led 6-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Balestrieri (2-3) took the loss throwing five innings plus the first two batters in the sixth. He allowed five runs on eight hits with three walks and one strikeout while hitting two batters. St. Clair threw three innings without allowing a run on two hits with four strikeouts. Dobzanski did not allow an earned run in his one inning of work on one hit with no walks and one strikeout.
Notes… Balestrieri matched Evan Guillory's season high scoreless innings streak of 13 1/3 innings dating back to May 29…In his first start since a nine-inning no hitter at Kane County, Balestrieri tied his career high in hits allowed with eight…St. Clair matched his career high with four strikeouts… His streak of 17 inherited runners not scoring ended …Montero has a five-game hit streak…He now leads the team in doubles with 14…Gonzalez has a six-game hit streak…He registered his 17th multi-hit game of the season…Rodriguez has a six-game hit streak… Lopez recorded his 14th multi-hit game of the season…The Chiefs are 8-3 at home in the first game of a series…Dobzanski leads the Chiefs in appearances with 20…The Chiefs continue the series against Beloit Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. on Bang For Your Buck Wednesday featuring $1 hot dogs, $1 nachos and $1 popcorn…The Chiefs will start RH Johan Oviedo (2-5, 5.87) against Beloit RH Bryce Conley (3-2, 4.07)…The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Pre-Game Show at 6:45 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive and is also available on the Peoria Chiefs Network on the Tune-In Radio App as well as MiLB.tv.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.