Peoria, IL - The Peoria Chiefs clinched their third-straight post-season berth with a 6-2 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits on Thursday night. The win clinches a playoff spot at 36-30 in the second half and the Chiefs and River Bandits will open the first round series in Peoria on Wednesday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Quad Cities took an early lead for the second straight night. Chiefs starter Evan Kruczynski allowed a one-out single to Chas McCormick and Luis Payano doubled to the left-center field gap, driving in McCormick to give the River Bandits a 1-0 lead. Payano attempted to stretch the hit to a triple, but was thrown out for the second out of the inning. Wander Franco and Cody Bohanek both singled, but Kruczynski struck out J.J. Matijevic to end the inning and the threat.
The Chiefs took the lead in the fourth against Bandits starter Kit Scheetz. Stefan Trosclair led off with a walk and with one out Evan Mendoza executed a hit-and-run with a single to right, sending Trosclair to third. The Chiefs executed a double steal with Mendoza taking second and Trosclair stealing home to tie the game at 1-1. The throw was cut off at second by Abraham Toro who made an errant throw to the plate to allow Mendoza to go to third. Juan Yepez grounded out to third and Mendoza scored to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
Quad Cities immediately responded in the fifth inning. Wander Franco led off with a home run off Kruczynski to left field, tying the game at 2-2. The homer was the first Kruczynski allowed since July 30 against Wisconsin.
Peoria broke the game open in the fifth inning against Quad Cities relievers Cesar Rosado and Salvaor Montano. Rosado walked Matt Fielder, Mick Fennell, and Kramer Robertson to load the bases with nobody out. Dylan Carlson singled to right to drive in Fiedler and Fennell to give Peoria a 4-2 advantage. With one out, Trosclair walked and Danny Hudzina singled to left, scoring Robertson and Carlson to improve the Chiefs lead to 6-2.
Kruczynski (4-3) earned a win, allowing two runs on six hits over five innings with two walks and three strikeouts. Leland Tilley earned a hold and pitched 1 1/3 shutout innings out with one hit and one walk. Austin Sexton earned a hold and hurled 1 2/3 shutout innings allowing three hits, a walk, and striking out two. Yeison Medina notched his ninth save of the season with one hitless inning with two strikeouts.
Notes…The Chiefs have made the playoffs for three straight years for the first time in franchise history…This is the fourth time the Chiefs have made the playoffs in the second half since 2004 as they also earned a late berth in 2004, 2009 and 2015…The Chiefs and River Bandits have played 515 regular season games but have never met in the playoffs…Except for a four-year stretch from 1996-99 the Chiefs and River Bandits have been in the same division since the Chiefs joined the MWL in 1983 but haven't met in the post-season…The best-of-three series starts in Peoria next Wednesday with games in Quad Cities the next two nighs… Hudzina extended his hit streak to 13 games, which is the third longest for a Chiefs hitter this season behind Andrew Knizner and Shane Billings who both had 15-game streaks… He also has a five-game RBI streak… It was his eighth multi-RBI game and seventh two-RBI game…Mendoza has a four-game hit streak… Carlson had his seventh multi-RBI game and fifth two-RBI game… Seven different Chiefs had a hit in the ballgame… Trosclair's steal of home is the second time this season a Chiefs baserunner has accomplished the feat, the last time it happened was when Robertson did it on August 5 in Clinton…The final home stand of the season concludes Friday at 6:30 p.m. as the Chiefs host Quad Cities…The Chiefs will start RH Frederis Parra (4-6, 3.95 ERA) while the River Bandits will start RH Cristian Javier (2-0, 2.48 ERA)… There will be a post-game Fireworks show… It's Fan Appreciation Night and the first 1,000 fans will receive a 2018 calendar…There will be a Mystery Grab Bag of signed baseballs and bobble heads from Major and Minor League teams and all the proceeds will go to the MiLB Charities Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund…There will be a pre-game ceremony at 6:00 p.m. to honor the Chiefs team and present 2017 Awards including team MVP…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.