WMBD/WYZZ-TV STAFF - PEORIA, IL - The Peoria Chiefs avoided a home sweep against the Quad Cities River Bandits Sunday afternoon with a wild 12-11 victory at Peoria Chiefs Stadium. The win gives the Chiefs a second-half record of 1-2 and they are 36-36 on the season.
The Chiefs got on the board early against Kyle Hald in the first inning. Zeke DeVoss led off with a homerun to left-center on a 2-1 offering to put the Chiefs up 1-0. Pin-Chieh Chen followed with a ground ball single to right and Paul Hoilman doubled down the third base line. With two-outs, Anthony Giansanti hit a line drive into right which plated Chen and Hoilman and the Chiefs led 3-0.
In the top of the second, Quad Cities rallied back. Three infield singles by Anthony Garcia, Juan Castillo and David Medina loaded the bases with no outs. Roberto De La Cruz lined a double down the left field line to bring home Garcia and Castillo cutting Peoria's lead to one. On a one-out offering from Michael Jensen, Neal Pritchard singled to center to score Medina and knot the score at three. Luis Mateo proceeded with a single to score De La Cruz and Pritchard putting the River Bandits up 5-3.
The River Bandits added the their lead in the top of the third. Colin Walsh started the inning with a walk and Garcia reached on a hit by pitch. A wild pitch by Jensen moved the runners into scoring position. Castillo flied out to center scoring Walsh and moving Garcia to third, to make the score 6-3. Medina singled to right to bring in Garcia and Quad Cities led 7-3.
Peoria cut into the lead in the bottom of the inning. Dustin Geiger reached on an error to lead off the frame and Javier Baez torched a single into center. Giansanti singled on a fly ball which was lost in the sun to load the bases with one out. Yasiel Balaguert hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Geiger and on an errant throw, Baez came around to score and the score became 7-5. Giansanti came around to score on a single by Sergio Burruel and the Chiefs trailed 7-6.
The Chiefs used a series of miscues by Quad Cities to rally back in the bottom of the fourth. DeVoss bunted a ball to first base and reached on the De La Cruz throwing error. During Chen's at bat, DeVoss stole second base and Chen hit an infield single and another throwing error brought home DeVoss and the score was tied at seven. Geiger moved Chen to third on a ground ball and a passed ball scored Chen to give Peoria an 8-7 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Hunter Cervenka relieved Jensen and gave up back-to-back singles by Garcia and Castillo putting the tying run in scoring position. Cervenka got Medina to ground into a double play and the game would have been tied had it not been for a diving catch by Giansanti in left and the Chiefs stayed on top 8-7.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Chiefs added to their lead. DeVoss led off with a walk and Chen singled on a bunt. On the bunt, another River Bandits error let DeVoss advance to third. Geiger rocketed a 1-1 Bob Revesz offering into left field over the palm trees, his third of the season. Peoria went in order after the homer and had a lead of 11-7.
Quad Cities cut the deficit to one in the seventh inning. Walsh had a one out single to left and Garcia took Cervenka out of the yard to make the score 11-9. Castillo singled and Medina doubled which ended the day for Cervenka and Larry Suarez took over. Suarez allowed a De La Cruz single to score Castillo and the score became 11-10.
The Chiefs got one run back in the bottom of the seventh. Balaguert singled on a liner to right and moved to second on a Burruel sacrifice bunt. Oliver Zapata grounded to short which moved Balaguert 90 feet to third. DeVoss walked on four pitches and Peoria had runners on the corners. On Chen's fourth hit of the ballgame, Balaguert scored an insurance run and the Chiefs led 12-10.
In the eighth, the River Bandits cut the lead in half. Mateo doubled off Suarez and with two outs, Garcia knocked in Mateo and the Chiefs clung onto a 12-11 lead to finish off the game.
The Chiefs used four pitchers in today's game starting with Jensen. He went four innings allowing seven runs on seven hits and he struck out three. Cervenka (2-0) gave up three runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings pitched. In 1 2/3 innings, Suarez allowed three hits and one run. Yao-Lin Wang collected his tenth save on the season pitching a perfect ninth and he struck out one.