GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Quad Cities River Bandits got just enough offense to send the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to another frustratingly close loss on Saturday night. The hard charging River Bandits defeated the Rattlers 4-3 at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in front of Wisconsin's largest home crowd of the season.
Jose Pena gave the assembled 6,168 in attendance something to cheer and - more importantly - the Timber Rattlers (25-30) the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Clint Coulter doubled to right with two away to keep the inning alive. Pena followed with a single to right and Coulter scored. Pena extended a pair of streaks with that RBI single. The Wisconsin designated hitter has a five-game hitting streak and has driven in at least one run in each of the last five games.
Quad Cities (29-26) rallied to tie the game in the top of the second. James Ramsay doubled, went to third on a grounder to second, and scored on a slow chopper up the first base line.
Coulter put the Rattlers back in front with a titanic home run to left field with two outs in the bottom of the third. Coulter's solo shot hit the fence by the pedestrian trail well beyond the outfield fence on one hop and was his tenth home run of the season.
The River Bandits took the lead back in the top of the fourth as they took advantage of a pair of two out walks. Wisconsin starting pitcher Zach Quintana retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the fourth. But, he issued back-to-back walks to Jon Kemmer and Ramsay to keep the inning alive. Chan-Jong Moon sent a high popup down the right field line. Michael Ratterree made a long run and a dive, but the ball dropped just out of his reach. Moon cruised into third with a two-run triple and the Bandits were up 3-2.
Mathis followed with an RBI single on the next pitch to drive in Moon and Quad Cities was up 4-2.
Wisconsin got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth. Johnny Davis singled and stole second with one out. Omar Garcia singled to left and Davis to make it a one run deficit.
The Rattlers had chances to even the game. Michael Ratterree doubled with one out in the sixth against Quad Cities starter Evan Grills. Coulter singled, his third hit of the game, with one out in the eighth against reliever Frederick Tiburcio. Francisco Castillo singled with one out in the bottom of the ninth against Tiburcio. But, all three runners were left stranded and the Timber Rattlers fell by a 4-3 score.
Saturday night was the twentieth game decided by a single run the Rattlers have played this season. They are 6-14 in one-run games this year.
The Rattlers managed to stay within a run of the River Bandits despite the issuance of ten walks in the game by Wisconsin pitchers. All ten walks came with two outs in an inning and there were no 1-2-3 innings by the Timber Rattlers defense on Saturday.
Quad Cities has won five straight games and remained one game behind the Peoria Chiefs for the first half Western Division Wild Card. Peoria rallied to defeat Kane County 5-3 on Saturday night. Wisconsin's loss dropped them five games off Wild Card pace with fourteen games remaining in this half of the season.
Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon. Victor Diaz (1-2, 3.15) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Quad Cities will counter with Kevin Comer (0-0, 2.65). Game time is 1:05pm and there will be plenty happening before, during, and after the game.
Fans will be able to meet the newest member of the Brewers family, Hank the Dog. The Ballpark Pup will be available to meet fans near the Festival Foods Grill at the end of the third base concourse from 11:30am to 12:15pm and again from 1:30pm to 2:15pm.
Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is scheduled for the first of two rehab appearances with the Timber Rattlers on Sunday.
It's a Macy's Day at the Ballpark too, with prizes, events, and great deals from Macy's. Enter at the Timber Rattlers facebook page for a chance for your family to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch at this game. As part of Brewers Sunday, players and coaches will be wearing gold Rattlers jerseys based on the design of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Fans can play catch on-field courtesy of Rasmussen College before the Rattlers and River Bandits play their game. All Timber Rattlers players will be available for a postgame autograph session.
If you can't make it out to the game, tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 12:45pm. Sunday's game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
Clint Coulter (10th, 0 on in 3rd inning off Evan Grills, 2 out)
WP: Evan Grills (2-1)
LP: Zach Quintana (0-4)
SAVE: Frederick Tiburcio (2)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.