PEORIA, IL - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are the team that is feeling snake-bit in Peoria this season after a 7-5 loss to the Peoria Chiefs at Dozer Park on Wednesday night. The Rattlers rallied from an early deficit, but held the lead for less that an inning as the Chiefs kept the Rattlers winless in Peoria in 2018.
Peoria (58-42 overall, 19-11 second half) took a 1-0 lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the first inning. Elehuris Montero singled with two away to extend the inning. Yariel Gonzalez doubled to the corner in right field on a 3-2 pitch and Montero, who was running on the pitch, scored for the Chiefs.
Zach Clark gave the Timber Rattlers (45-55, 14-17) a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning when he hit a two-out, three-run home run off the foul pole in left. The homer was the seventh of the season for Clark.
The Chiefs stormed back to take the lead with four runs in the bottom of the fourth. The first two hitters of the frame reached base and Rayder Ascanio was asked to get a bunt down. He fouled off the first two pitches and the bunt play was forgotten. Ascanio would eventually drive in a run with a double on a 3-2 pitch from Wisconsin starter Christian Taugner. JR Davis followed with a two-run single and the Chiefs were up 4-3.
Peoria loaded the bases - and knocked Taugner out of the game - with two more singles. Montero drove in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly and the Chiefs were up 5-3.
Wisconsin cut the lead to one run with a little help from the Peoria defense in the top of the fifth. Jay Feliciano singled to start the inning, but was still at first with two outs. Tristen Lutz sent a high, deep fly to center that was misplayed for a three-base error to score Feliciano and cut the deficit to one run.
However, the Chiefs went back up by three with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Gonzalez cracked a lead-off home run for the first run. Later in the inning, Davis made it 7-4 with an RBI single.
Darren Seferina brought the Rattlers back to within two runs with a two-out, RBI single in the top of the seventh inning to drove Peoria starter Angel Rondon out of the game. Rondon left the game with eleven strikeouts over 6-2/3 innings.
Zach Prendergast got the final out of the seventh and worked around a two-out single in the top of the eighth to maintain the lead.
Clayton Andrews pitched two innings out of the Wisconsin bullpen to keep the game close. The 17th round pick of the Brewers from the 2018 draft struck out five as he retired all six Peoria batters he faced in the game.
Kodi Whitley took over to start the top of the ninth inning and hit Henry. Feliciano followed with a one-hop rocket to short that knocked Ascanio on his back, but Ascanio was able to throw to second for the force on Henry and Feliciano was out at first for an incredible double play.
However, the Rattlers didn't give up easily. Gabriel García drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Seferina, who played for the Chiefs in 2015, collected a single on another 3-2 pitch for his third hit of the night and the Rattlers had runners at the corners and the lead run coming to the plate. But, Whitley struck out Lutz to end the game.
Wisconsin is 0-7 against the Chiefs at Dozer Park this season. If the three games against Kane County from April that were played in Peoria instead of Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium are included in Wisconsin's record in Peoria, the Rattlers are 0-10 in ten games at Dozer Park in 2018.
The second game of the three-game series at Dozer Park is set for Thursday night. Nelson Hernández (9-6, 4.78) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Peoria has named Paul Balestrieri (7-4, 4.16) as their starter. Game time is 7:00pm. The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Pregame Show at 6:40pm. The broadcast is also available on the Tune In and IHeart Radio apps. Subscribers to MiLB.tv can watch the game over the internet.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.