GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers had been in a home run drought, but busted out a surge of power with three home runs to beat the Burlington Bees 6-2 on Thursday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The win allowed the Rattlers to keep pace in the second half playoff chase.
Thomas Dillard put the Timber Rattlers (64-64 overall, 33-26 second half) up 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning with a two-out, solo home run. The homer, Dillard's fifth of the season, was the first by a Rattler hitter since Dillard hit one at Burlington on August 9.
Burlington (63-66, 24-35) rallied to tie the game in the top of the second on a two-out, RBI single by Ryan Vega.
Brent Díaz put the Rattlers back in front with a solo home run to the Burlington bullpen with one out in the bottom of the second.
Rattlers starting pitcher Reese Olson carried that lead into the fifth inning and had two outs with none on base, but the Bees tied the game again with a two-out rally. Kevin Maitan drew a walk and Adrian Rondon singled to extend the inning. Francisco Del Valle drove a single to right to score Maitan and the score was even at 2-2.
The Rattlers had an answer in the bottom of the fifth. Antonio Piñero doubled to start the inning and went to third on a stolen base after it appeared he would be picked off second. The throw went to second, but Piñero broke for third and made it easily. Jesús Lujano sent a liner to left with one out that was deep enough to score Piñero with the go-ahead run.
Díaz added to the lead with a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth inning.
Victor Castaneda, who took over for Olson in the top of the fifth inning, worked 2-1/3 scoreless innings to maintain that lead through the seventh.
David Fry gave the Rattlers a little more insurance in the bottom of the eighth inning with his seventeenth home run of the season. Fry's blast was a solo shot and the Rattlers were up 5-2. Later in the inning, Je'Von Ward scored on a wild pitch.
Logan Gillaspie closed out his two scoreless innings with a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his second save of the season.
The win allowed the Rattlers to move their overall record to .500 for the first time since they were 49-49 after a doubleheader sweep of West Michigan on July 21. The Rattlers have won three straight and five of their last six games.
In the second half playoff chase, the Rattlers received no help in their quest to make the postseason for the first time since 2016 as both teams they are chasing won as well on Thursday night. The Kane County Cougars, the Western Division leaders, survived a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the bottom of the tenth inning to win 2-1 on the road over the Beloit Snappers. The Clinton LumberKings, who hold the Wild Card lead in the Western Division, jumped to a 4-0 lead with four runs in the bottom of the first inning and cruised to a 6-0 win at home over the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The Rattlers trail Clinton by three games and Kane County by five games. There are eleven games left in the regular season.
The final game of the series is set for Friday night at Neuroscience Group Field. Ethan Small (0-1, 0.90) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Burlington has named Cole Duensing (6-5, 4.58) as their starter. Game time is 7:05pm.
The first 1,000 fans to attend this game will receive a poster of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers team photo courtesy of EatStreet. This is final poster in a series of four that have been given away this season.
There may still be time to purchase a Love Your Melon Ticket package for a box seat ticket and a limited-edition Timber Rattlers/Love Your Melon Beanie. Click here to order using the promo code 'melon'.
There will be a few Angry Birds at the game to meet with fans, too. The first 1,000 kids age twelve and under will receive a Timber Rattlers logo baseball from Aquire Restoration as part of Youth Sports Night. There will be a pregame, on-field parade for all youth sports teams in attendance.
Those of legal drinking age may have Arty's Old Fashioned Drinks for $3 on this Arty's Old Fashioned Friday with Arty's and 101.1 WIXX. FOX 11 presents postgame fireworks and children aged twelve and under may run the bases after the game courtesy of Menasha Corporation.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, the radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and the TuneIn Radio app starting with the Papa John's Pizza Pregame Show at 6:45pm. MiLB.tv subscribers 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.