Burlington Bees third baseman Sherman Johnson came within a home run of the cycle , catcher Zach Wright added three singles among his team's 12 hits, and the visitors used a four-run fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie and send the Quad Cities River Bandits to a fifth straight loss with a 6-4 final Saturday night in front of 5,581 at Modern Woodmen Park.
Johnson led off the game against left-hander Joe Bircher (3-3) with a triple down the left-field line, and Bees shortstop Angel Rosa had the first of his game-high three RBIs on a sacrifice fly that gave Burlington (23-31 second half, 49-70 overall) a 1-0 lead.
The River Bandits (30-23, 68-54) came back to tie it in the bottom of the second inning against left-hander Brandon Love (4-6). Third baseman Rio Ruiz hit a leadoff double to right-center field, and catcher Roberto Pena brought him in with a one-out double to left field. But Love induced consecutive groundouts to keep Quad Cities from taking the lead. Love limited the home team to four hits and one earned run while walking three batters and striking out five in the first five innings.
Bircher got help from 6-4-3, inning-ending double plays each of the first three innings and worked a perfect fourth inning before the Bees' big fifth inning. In a 1-1 tie, second baseman Wendell Soto singled to right field, before Johnson singled, and Rosa hit a two-run double to the left-field wall for a 3-1 Bees lead. After a bunt single by left fielder Exicardo Cayones, Bircher got a groundout and popup before Wright lifted a two-out, two-run single to shallow right field, making it 5-1. Bircher became the fifth straight Quad Cities starter to allow at least four runs, and he yielded 10 hits and one walk in five innings.
The River Bandits rallied against left-hander Eswarlin Jimenez in the seventh inning, as Pena reached on an error by Rosa, and designated hitter Brian Blasik singled to right field. Center fielder Teoscar Hernandez grounded out to drive in one run, and shortstop Carlos Correa had his third hit of the night to knock in another and raise his average to .332, which ranks second in the Midwest League. Left fielder Danry Vasquez hit a fly ball to right field that eluded right fielder Julio Concepcion and brought in Correa for a 5-4 deficit, but Jimenez fanned first baseman Bobby Borchering to close the inning.
Burlington added an eighth-inning run against right-hander Jamaine Cotton, when Wright singled and eventually scored on Johnson's sacrifice fly that grew the lead to 6-4. Bees right-hander Jake Boyd got the final six outs for his first save.
The River Bandits play the second game of the series against Burlington at 5 p.m. Sunday. River Bandits left-hander Brian Holmes (4-3) is scheduled to face Bees left-hander Chris O'Grady (1-1).
UP NEXT: Three lucky fans will win new flat screen TVs on Flat Screen Family Sunday presented by KWQC and B100. The 5 p.m. game is Happy's Joe's Night, as well as Pirates and Princesses Night with Storybook Princesses at the ballpark. On Faith and Fellowship Night presented by Chick-fil-A and Moody Radio, $2 of each ticket can go to a church or faith community, and River Bandits players will share about their faith after the game. The River Bandits' home stand continues through Friday, Aug. 23. Single-game tickets are on sale at the River Bandits box office at Modern Woodmen Park, by phone at 563-324-3000 and online at www.riverbandits.com. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $50. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: The River Bandits ownership is making one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 112 feet over the playing field, is planned for next spring, along with a carousel and other new games and attractions. This season, the team just unveiled a new 300-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, a Mediacom Frog Hopper, and a number of new bounce houses . The team also boasts a new major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, and fans can see the first team in Minor League Baseball history with back-to-back No. 1 overall draft picks - 2012 top pick Carlos Correa and 2013 top pick Mark Appel, as well as 2012 first-round draft choice Lance McCullers. With new rides, new attractions, new improvements, a new affiliate and future major league stars, the second half of this season is one every fan will not want to miss!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.