Comstock Park, MI - The Peoria Chiefs scored six unanswered runs to rally past the West Michigan Whitecaps 9-6 Tuesday night to even the series. The rubber match will be on Wednesday morning as the 14-15 Chiefs face the 14-16 Whitecaps.
The Chiefs came out swinging against West Michigan right-hander Gio Arriera. Delvin Perez led off with a single and moved to third on an automatic double by Nolan Gorman that hopped over the fence in right-center. Ivan Herrera was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Perez scored on a RBI fielders' choice off the bat of Lars Nootbaar. Brady Whalen put the Chiefs up 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to right before Arriera got out of the inning.
The Whitecaps got on the board in the second inning with a two-out rally against Cole Aker. Parker Meadows singled to right-center with two down and stole second before scoring on a single to left from Sam McMillan to cut the Chiefs lead to 2-1.
The Chiefs got that run back immediately in the top of the third. Perez started the frame with an infield single and Gorman was hit by a pitch. With one down, Whalen delivered another sacrifice fly to right as Perez scored for a 3-1 Chiefs lead.
West Michigan took the lead in the fourth inning as the first five batters reached on a walk, two singles and two walks. With the game tied, Avery Tuck singled home a run and Jeremiah Burks walked with the bases loaded. Michael Brettell took over for Aker and got out of the inning with a fielders' choice and pop up.
The Chiefs chipped away in the sixth inning. Whalen was hit by a pitch and Brendan Donovan singled to center. Sandel De La Cruz replaced Arriera on the mound and Leandro Cedeno singled to center to load the bases. With one out, Edwin Figuera bounced a single to center to plate two runs and cut the Whitecaps lead to 6-5. Perez beat out a potential double play ball to put runners on the corners for Gorman with two outs. However, Cedeno was caught trying to steal home on a delayed double steal to end the inning.
Peoria completed the comeback in the eighth against De La Cruz and reliever Angel Reyes. Donovan drew a leadoff walk and with one out Wadye Ynfante walked. Reyes took over on the mound and Figuera tied the game with a single to right. Ynfante scampered home on a passed ball to put the Chiefs on top 7-6 with two outs. The Whitecaps intentionally walked Gorman and Herrera reached on a dropped third strike to load the bases. Nootbaar delivered a two-strike, two-out single to left to plate Figuera and Gorman for a 9-6 Chiefs lead, though Herrera was thrown out at third on the play to end the inning.
Aker took a no-decision as he allowed five runs on five hits over 3 1/3 innings while walking four and striking out three. Brettell (1-0) picked up the win as he pitched a season-high 3 2/3 innings allowing one run on two hits while walking one and striking out two. Thomas St. Clair earned his first save of the season with two hitless and shutout innings as he walked two and struck out two.
The series concludes Wednesday at 10:05 a.m. central as the Chiefs start LH Diego Cordero (2-1, 1.15) against Whitecaps KH Kacey Murphy (1-1, 4.91). The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Pre-Game Show at 9:50 a.m. on the Peoria Chiefs Tune-In Page, which is free and also has a free app for smartphones and tablets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.