The Quad Cities River Bandits kept a strong chance of sweeping the defending Midwest League Champion Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on the road with a 1-1 tie entering the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday afternoon, but Wisconsin broke through for five runs in the sixth and went on to a 9-1 victory at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
River Bandits designated hitter Chase Davidson tied the game, 1-1, with a towering solo home run to center field in the sixth inning against right-hander Ryan Gibbard (1-0). The Timber Rattlers answered with three straight hits and a run against left-hander Colton Cain (0-1), who started the sixth inning as part of a scheduled tandem with right-hander Mike Hauschild. Designated hitter Mitch Haniger and left fielder Victor Roache each singled for Wisconsin, and second baseman Chris McFarland followed with a go-ahead double down the right-field line.
Trailing 2-1 with no one out, Cain walked first baseman Adam Giacalone to load the bases before striking out third baseman Alfredo Rodriguez and catcher Parker Berberet. But with a 2-2 count on right fielder Michael Reed, Cain's pitch was lined back up the middle for a two-run single to extend the Wisconsin lead to 4-1. Cain then left after allowing four hits in 2/3 of an inning, and right-hander Gera Sanchez came on to allow a two-run double by right fielder Jose Sermo that made it 6-1. All five runs were charged to Cain.
Wisconsin (6-9) scored three more times with two outs in the eighth inning against Sanchez. With two outs and the bases empty, Reed and Sermo singled, and shortstop Orlando Arcia lined an RBI single to center field, before Haniger drove a two-run double to the center-field wall to make it 9-1, the largest lead an opponent has held over the River Bandits (11-6) this season. Sanchez was charged with three runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings while striking out four batters.
Gibbard held Quad Cities to four baserunners - three hits and one walk - in six innings, while walking one and striking out five. The River Bandits put two runners on in an inning for the first and only time in the eighth inning against right-hander Taylor Mangum, who struck out the side to escape the inning. Mangum worked three shutout innings out of the bullpen to earn his first save.
River Bandits right-hander Mike Hauschild worked the first five innings, striking out four, walking one and allowing five hits and a single unearned run. Wisconsin scored when Berberet led off the third inning with a double and scored when Reed's infield chopper went under the glove of shortstop Carlos Correa. The Timber Rattlers amassed eight runs on 10 hits against the Quad Cities bullpen.
Davidson's 2-for-4 day led Quad Cities' offense, while Sermo and Haniger each went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to pace the Timber Rattlers.
Quad Cities has its first scheduled off day Wednesday before opening a six-game home stand Thursday night at 7 p.m. against the Lansing Lugnuts, who visit Modern Woodmen Park for the first time since losing the clinching game of the River Bandits' 2011 Midwest League Championship. A tandem of right-hander Jordan Jankowski (0-0) and left-hander Brian Holmes (1-1) are scheduled to face Lansing right-hander Roberto Osuna (1-1). Fans should check www.riverbandits.com for updates on accessing the ballpark.