GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Quad Cities River Bandits third baseman Rio Ruiz continued an impressive road trip with three hits and three RBIs, and right-hander Jamaine Cotton worked four scoreless relief innings for the win in a 6-3 final over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium Thursday night.
With their 10th win in the last 12 games, the River Bandits (40-25 second half, 78-56 overall) pushed the defending Midwest League Champion Timber Rattlers (30-36, 59-72) two games behind Clinton (32-34, 65-70) with four games remaining to determine the final second-half playoff spot in the Western Division. Quad Cities has clinched a playoff spot and will open with Cedar Rapids Wednesday.
Ruiz helped the visitors take a first-inning lead against right-hander Ryan Gibbard (4-7). Second baseman Austin Elkins and shortstop Carlos Correa drew consecutive one-out walks, and after left fielder Danry Vasquez moved both runners with a groundout to first, Ruiz lined a single to center field for a 2-0 lead. Gibbard lasted only three innings and allowed four earned runs on three walks and five hits.
In the bottom of the first, River Bandits left-hander Joe Bircher allowed a leadoff double to second baseman Alfredo Rodriguez and walked two batters to load the bases with one out. First baseman Parker Berberet flied out to center field to bring home Rodriguez. In the second inning, third baseman Mike Garza led off with the first of his three singles, and Rodriguez tied the game with an RBI single.
In a 2-2 tie starting the third inning, Elkins hit a one-out single to left-center field and Correa drew a walk. Vasquez then drove in Elkins with a double to the left-center field gap,a nd Ruiz followed with a single to score Correa for a 4-2 lead. Ruiz later added a single in the sixth inning, and he is 12-for-23 (.522) with 12 RBIs and a hit in each of the first six games of the road trip.
Bircher allowed a single and walk in the fourth inning and bobbled a comeback ground ball to load the bases with two outs. Cotton came in to walk Berberet on four pitches to make it 4-3 but struck out designated hitter Garrett Cooper to end the inning. Cotton allowed two baserunners in the fifth on a single and strikeout wild pitch, but he rallied to retire eight straight Timber Rattlers before an eighth-inning error by Elkins. After Cotton picked off the runner, he issued a walk that ended his night. Right-hander Patrick Christensen got an inning-ending groundout and worked around two ninth-inning hits to strike out the side for his first save. Catcher Roberto Pena had extended the lead to 6-3 with a two-run double in the top of the ninth inning against right-hander Preston Gainey, who tossed 5 1/3 relief innings.
Thursday's victory also means The Captain's Table at 4801 River Drive in Moline will offer The Captain's Table Victory Discount Friday, Aug. 30. Anyone who mentions the River Bandits victory can receive a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of two lunches or dinners with beverages on Friday, Aug. 30.
Quad Cities finishes its final regular season road series in Wisconsin at 7:05 p.m. Friday. River Bandits right-hander Zach Morton (0-1) is scheduled to face Timber Rattlers right-hander Rodolfo Fernandez (4-3).
UP NEXT: The River Bandits' final homestand of the regular season kicks off Saturday, Aug. 31, with a Dallas Clark Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Barrel House 211 and CBS4 when gates open at 5:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game. Fireworks will also follow the game. 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.