EASTLAKE, OH - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers used a big two-out rally in the second inning and seven scoreless innings from starting pitcher Anthony Banda to defeat the Lake County Captains 7-4 on Thursday afternoon at Classic Park.
The first two Timber Rattlers to bat - Taylor Brennan and Rafael Neda - in the top of the second inning reached on walks issued by Lake County starting pitcher Luis Lugo, but he got the next hitter to ground into a 5-3 double play. That looked like the end of the scoring chances for the Rattlers (54-47 overall, 18-14 second half). Then, the next seven Timber Rattlers reached base to pull away from the Captains.
Jose Pena singled off the foot of Lugo to start the rally. Angel Ortega dropped a blooper into center to score Neda for a 1-0 lead. Johnny Davis drew a walk to load the bases for Chris McFarland.
McFarland worked the count to 3-2 and lined a single up the middle to score two runs for a 3-0 lead and to knock Lugo out of the game.
Lake County (42-60, 15-17) went to Justin Garcia to face Michael Ratterree. McFarland stole second during Ratterree's at bat and the Captains elected to try to pick Davis off third base. The throw went into left field and Davis scored easily as McFarland cruised into third. Ratterree would draw a walk, the sixth of the game by Lake County pitching, to set the stage for David Denson.
Denson singled to center to knock in McFarland for a 5-0 lead. The throw in from center got away from everyone and trickled to the backstop behind home plate to allow Ratterree to take third and Denson to move to second. Taylor Brennan made the Captains pay for their third error of the inning when he singled to right to send both Ratterree and Denson home for a 7-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Banda was cruising. He tossed seven scoreless innings in 79 pitches. Banda allowed three hits, walked one, and struck out six.
Lake County got on the scoreboard in the eighth inning against reliever Victor Diaz. Diaz walked the leadoff batter and gave up a two-run homer to Richard Stock. Brian Ruiz followed with a double and an error allowed Ivan Castillo to reach. Claudio Bautista got Ruiz home with a grounder to third. Diaz got the next two outs without incident.
In the ninth, Diaz retired the first two batters. Stock kept the inning going with a double. Ruiz singled to left to drive in Stock to cut Wisconsin's lead to three. Diaz ended the game and the Captains comeback hopes when he got Castillo to ground out to second for the final out.
Wisconsin's win was their fourth in a row and pushed them to seven games over .500 to match their high water mark of the season. Lake County has lost eight straight games - all to teams from the Western Division.
The final game of the series is Friday night at Classic Park. Zach Quintana (3-4, 6.02) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Luis Lugo (5-7, 5.55) is set to start for the Captains. Game time is 6:00pm CDT. Catch the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 5:40pm CDT.
Richard Stock (3rd, 1 on in 8th inning off Victor Diaz, 0 out)
WP: Anthony Banda (5-6)
LP: Luis Lugo (5-8)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.