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Chiefs Middle Infield Teams Up To Tip Bandits

The Peoria Chiefs broke a 2-2 tie with the Quad Cities River Bandits in the seventh inning with shortstop Alex Mejia's second RBI triple of the game, and Mejia and second baseman Breyvic Valera combined for six hits and all four Peoria runs in a 4-2 Sunday win in front of 4,231 at Modern Woodmen Park.


Valera, the Chiefs leadoff batter, and Mejia, the No. 2 hitter, helped Peoria to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning against right-hander Mike Hauschild. The pair hit consecutive singles, and with two outs and runner at first and third base, River Bandits first baseman Jesse Wierzbicki stopped and then dropped a ground ball by left fielder Jordan Walton, which brought in Valera for the first run.


The River Bandits (20-15) scored their only runs in the fourth inning against left-hander Kyle Helisek (3-1). Quad Cities third baseman Rio Ruiz hit a two-run home run to left field that also brought home left fielder Terrell Joyce. The homer was the second this season for Ruiz, who hit his first exactly four weeks earlier against Peoria at Modern Woodmen Park. Helisek held Quad Cities to three hits and three walks while striking out five batters in six innings.


Valera and Mejia quickly erased the River Bandits' 2-1 lead in the next half inning, as they each tripled to left-center field. But Hauschild stranded Mejia at third base by fanning designated hitter Jacob Wilson and - following a walk to Walton - inducing a ground-ball double play by first baseman Patrick Wisdom to keep the score tied, 2-2.


Left-hander Colton Cain (1-4) started the sixth inning for Quad Cities and worked a perfect frame before Peoria (17-16) took the lead in the seventh inning. Valera singled to right-center field, and Mejia followed with a drive to right-center between right fielder Ariel Ovando and center fielder Jordan Scott, who collided on the play, and the loose ball allowed Valera to score the go-ahead run and Mejia to reach third for a triple. Wilson followed with sacrifice fly to left field for a 4-2 Peoria lead. Cain held the Chiefs to an eighth inning walk the rest of the way but took the loss, despite going four innings as part of the starting tandem.


Chiefs right-hander Joe Donofrio faced the minimum in the seventh and eighth innings by getting a ground-ball double play in the seventh. Right-hander Zach Petrick came in for the ninth and allowed a leadoff single by shortstop Carlos Correa and a one-out walk to Joyce. With runners at first and second and the tying run on base, Ruiz struck out looking against Petrick, and designated hitter Brian Blasik grounded into an appropriate fielder's choice - with Mejia flipping to Valera for the final out - to give Petrick his fifth save.


The four-game, three-day series between Quad Cities and Peoria concludes at 11 a.m. Monday, as Chiefs right-hander Joe Lucas (0-2) faces the starting tandem of right-hander Jordan Jankowski (1-0) and left-hander Brian Holmes (3-2). Houston Astros right-hander Josh Fields, who made the first rehab appearance by a major league player for Quad Cities at Modern Woodmen Park on Friday, is also scheduled to pitch two innings Monday.



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