DAVENPORT, IA - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers defeated the Quad Cities River Bandits 9-2 Monday night at Modern Woodmen Park. Mitch Haniger homered and drove in four runs for the offense. Matt Miller pitched seven solid innings and Wisconsin's defense played error-free ball while the River Bandits committed two costly errors.
Anthony Garcia put the River Bandits (42-38 overall, 7-4 second half) in front in the first inning. Stephen Piscotty doubled with two outs. Garcia, who drove in two runs for Quad Cities on Sunday, drove in Piscotty with a single for a 1-0 lead.
Haniger got the Rattlers (50-30, 6-5) in front with one swing in the third inning. Max Walla reached on an error and took second on a wild pitch to start the inning. He was still at second base with two outs. Then, Bandits starting pitcher Willy Paulino hit Brandon Macias to extend the inning to Haniger.
Haniger, the supplemental first round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2012 draft, worked the count to 3-1 before pasting a pitch from Paulino well past the fence in deepest left-center for a three-run homer. The long ball was the first professional home run for Haniger and it put Wisconsin up 3-1.
Cameron Garfield scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning against River Bandits reliever Jonathan Cornelius to pad their lead to 4-1.
The Rattlers put the game away in the seventh inning with a little help from the River Bandits defense. The inning started with Carlos George and Chadwin Stang reaching on singles. A sacrifice bunt by Brandon Macias moved both runners into scoring position. Haniger drove in George and got Stang to third base with a sacrifice fly. Then, things got weird.
Nick Ramirez struck out for the final out of the inning, but catcher Juan Castillo dropped the ball. He had an easy throw to first to get Ramirez, but the throw was wild and Stang scored. Garfield was next and he reached on an infield single off Piscotty's glove to keep the frame going. Yadiel Rivera singled to load the bases. Lance Roenike cracked a two-run single to left-center and the Rattlers went up 8-1.
Quad Cities got a run against Miller in the bottom of the seventh inning on an infield grounder by Roberto Reyes. But, Wisconsin responded with one more run in the top of the eighth. George tripled to start the inning and scored on a sac fly by Stang.
Miller won his fourth straight decision by going seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out four. Stosh Wawrzasek came on to pitch two perfect innings of relief to close out the River Bandits.
Game three of the series is Wednesday night at 6:00pm. Chad Pierce (2-2, 3.88) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Tyrell Jenkins (1-3, 5.36) is set to start for the River Bandits. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 5:40pm.
Mitch Haniger (1st, 2 on in 3rd inning off Willy Paulino, 2 out)
WP: Matt Miller (7-5)
LP: Willy Paulino (2-6)