GRAND CHUTE, WI - Mike Garza kept the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on a hot streak. Garza knocked in the winning run with a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth inning for an 8-7 victory over the Kane County Cougars on Tuesday afternoon. The victory was the third straight for Wisconsin and their fifth win over their last six games. Wisconsin's seventh "walkoff" win of the season also kept their playoff hopes alive heading into the final two series of the regular season.
The teams kept trading runs in the early innings.
Kane County (52-77 overall, 22-41 second half) got on the board in the first inning. Giuseppe Papaccio reached on an error with one out. Jeimer Candelario doubled to put runners on second and third. Rock Shoulders followed with a single to drive in Papaccio.
The Rattlers (59-70, 30-34) loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. Garza's hard grounder to short was bobbled for an error to let Alfredo Rodriguez score from third.
Kane County went back in front in the top of the second inning. Oliver Zapata's run scoring fielder's choice drove in the first run of the inning. Pappacio followed with an RBI single for a 3-1 lead.
The Rattlers responded with three runs on no hits in the bottom of the second. Dustin Houle drew a walk and the Cougars committed an error on a double play ball off the bat of Chris McFarland. Rodriguez was asked to bunt and he made a good one up the third base line for a sacrifice. Papaccio threw to first, but no one was covering the base. The ball rolled down the line in right allowing Houle and McFarland to score and Rodriguez to take third base. Tyrone Taylor put the Rattlers up 4-3 with a sacrifice fly.
The Cougars came right back to tie the game in the top of the third. Carlos Escobar singled and Marco Hernandez doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. A single by Jose Dore drove in Escobar. The inning could have been much worse. Rattlers starting pitcher Jorge Lopez hit Reggie Golden to load the bases with no outs. But, a shallow fly to right and a 1-6-3 double play ended the inning without another crossing the plate.
Houle and McFarland started another Wisconsin rally in the bottom of the fourth. Houle singled and McFarland walked to chase Kane County starting pitcher Nathan Dorris from the game. Rodriguez greeted reliever Justin Amlung with a bloop single to center to load the bases. Michael Reed grounded into a 4-3 double play to get the lead run home. Taylor followed with an RBI single to knock in McFarland for a 6-4 advantage.
Lopez got the first two outs in the top of the fifth. But, Dore doubled to extend the inning. Then, Golden lined a home run just to the right of the batter's eye. The two-run shot tied the game 6-6.
Houle started another rally for Wisconsin with a leadoff double to the gap in right center in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Matt Iannazzo. An error on the play - the sixth error of the game charged to Kane County - allowed him to take third base. Michael Haman took over for Iannazzo and got the first out. Then, Taylor sent a fly ball to center that was deep enough to score Houle from third with the run to put the Rattlers up 7-6.
But, Kane County came back to tie the game in the top of the ninth. Jeimer Candelario worked the count to 3-2 against Jono Armold and hit a leadoff homer to right to make the score 7-7.
Taylor started the Wisconsin ninth with a bunt single. Hamann got the next two outs to bring Garza to the plate. Hamann made several throws over to first base to try and keep Taylor close. Taylor took off on a 1-1 pitch and Garza lined that pitch into the right field corner. Taylor cruised home and the Rattlers celebrated the win..
The Timber Rattlers moved to within 1-1/2 games of the Clinton LumberKings for the second half Western Division Wild Card spot. Clinton plays at Beloit on Tuesday night at 7:00pm. A loss by Clinton let the Rattlers move to within a game of the LumberKings with six games remaining in the regular season.
The Timber Rattlers welcome the Quad Cities River Bandits to town on Wednesday night. Austin Ross (2-0, 2.79) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Quad Cities has sends Chris Devenski (3-3, 4.82) to the mound. Game time is 7:05pm.
The final magnet in a series of four from Lamers Bus Lines features Milwaukee Brewers All-Star Outfielder Carlos Gomez and the first 500 fans to attend Wednesday's game will receive this collectible. Plus, it's a Bang for Your Buck with WIXX means $1 Cher-Make hot dogs, $1 Pepsi Products, and $1 Miller Beers!
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, My NEW 32's Sports Showdown will televise the game starting with their pregame show at 6:30pm. The radio broadcast may be heard on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:45pm. Wednesday's game is also available to MiLB.TV subscribers.
Reggie Golden (9th, 1 on in 5th inning off Jorge Lopez, 2 out)
Jeimer Candelario (10th, 0 on in 9th inning off Jono Armold, 0 out)
WP: Jono Armold (4-2)
LP: Michael Hamann (2-4)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.