EASTLAKE, Ohio –– The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (17-14, 53-47) got off to a hot start as they scored five runs in the first inning and they rode the big inning to a 8-4 win over the Lake County Captains (15-16, 42-59) on Wednesday night at Classic Park. The Captains have dropped seven straight games.
“Everything has gone wrong for us,” manager Mark Budzinski said of the losing streak. “In four of the six games, we have had bad first innings and we cant come back. Poor execution and bad base running mistakes.”
The Timber Rattlers sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs against Dace Kime. Center fielder Johnny Davis walked and moved to second on a bunt single by second baseman Chris McFarland. Davis and McFarland completed a successful double steal of second and third base. On the throw to third base, catcher Eric Haase threw the ball into left field, bringing home Davis. Kime threw a wild pitch, moving McFarland to third. Designated hitter Michael Ratterree walked and advanced to second on Kime’s second wild pitch. First baseman David Denson singled up the middle to score McFarland and Ratterree. Four batters later, right fielder Jose Pena lined a two-run double to left field to expand the lead to five.
In the bottom half of the first, center fielder Clint Frazier launched his eleventh homerun of the year to right field to cut the lead to four.
The Captains rallied for two runs in the third inning. After the first two batters were retired, second baseman Claudio Bautista and Frazier had back-to-back singles. Right fielder Mike Papi reached on a catcher’s interference call to load the bases. First baseman Nellie Rodriguez lined a two-out single to left center field. Wisconsin led 5-3 after three innings.
Pena struck again in the top of the fourth inning with his seventh homerun of the season to the left field bleachers. Davis singled with one out and McFarland singled to move Davis to third. Haase tried to pickoff Davis at third but the throw was off-line. Davis scored from third and McFarland went to third. Denson singled home McFarland to take a five-run lead.
Kime fell to 5-12 on the year after allowing eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits in four innings. He walked two and fanned two batters. He tied a season high in runs allowed. Lefty Anderson Polanco entered for the fifth inning.
Timber Rattlers’ starter Preston Gainey pitched five innings with four runs allowed (two earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out three to improve to 3-6 in his seventeenth start. Righthander Seth Harvey took over in the sixth and threw two scoreless innings of one hit ball.
Polanco shut down the Timber Rattlers over three shutout innings. He scattered one hit and retired the final nine batters he faced.
Carlos Melo came in for the eighth inning and avoided another big inning. Wisconsin loaded the bases with two walks and a single. Melo struck out the final batter to extinguish the inning. Justin Brantley tossed a scoreless ninth inning.
Luke Curtis pitched the final two innings with no hits and two strikeouts for Wisconsin.
In the game, Lake County had seven hits total. Frazier had a 3-3 night, his sixth three-hit game. He had two singles and a homer. Rodriguez upped his team-leading RBI total to 56.
The Captains and Timber Rattlers will resume the three game series on Thursday morning. Lake County will send LHP Luis Lugo (5-7, 5.55) to the hill to face another lefty for Wisconsin. LHP Anthony Banda (4-6, 4.27) will make the start for the visitors. First pitch is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.