The Quad Cities River Bandits' run of five consecutive wins to start the season came to an end Tuesday night, as the Burlington Bees used three home runs and a two-run, eighth-inning double by Michael Bolaski to break a 4-4 tie and send the Bees to a 6-4 home win at Community Field.
After holding the Bees scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings, right-hander Lance McCullers (0-1) allowed an eighth-inning leadoff single by Bees second baseman Sherman Johnson. Right fielder Kyle Johnson then put down a bunt to the third-base side of the mound, which McCullers fielded and threw wide of first, allowing Sherman Johnson to reach third base. With catcher Anthony Bemboom batting, Sherman Johnson stole second base, but McCullers fanned Bemboom for the first out of the inning. After an intentional walk to Bees first baseman Wade Hinkle, McCullers faced Bolaski, who had been hitless in three previous at-bats. Bolaski hit a line drive over the head of right fielder Terrell Joyce to bring in both Johnsons for a 6-4 lead.
McCullers left following Bolaski's double after working 2 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and two runs - one earned - and walking two batters while striking out three. Left-hander Mitchell Lambson entered and escaped the jam to keep the deficit to two runs.
Right-hander Jairo Diaz pitched the top of the ninth inning and allowed a two-out infield single by River Bandits third baseman Ryan Dineen. Diaz then retired second baseman Carlos Perdomo on a one-hopper back to the mound for his second save.
The River Bandits (5-1) left 13 runners on base and were just 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position Tuesday night. The Bees (3-3) left only five runners on base and none in the first five innings against right-hander Daniel Minor, who allowed four hits but three home runs that accounted for the Bees' first four runs. Minor did not walk a batter while striking out five in five innings of work.
Quad Cities scored first for the sixth straight game, as center fielder Teoscar Hernandez hit a leadoff double, advanced to third on a bunt single by shortstop Carlos Correa and scored on a ground ball by designated hitter Chase Davidson. Burlington took its first lead in the bottom of the second inning, when Hinkle hit a leadoff double, and center fielder Chevy Clarke took Minor deep to center field.
The 2-1 deficit was the first of the season for the River Bandits, but they quickly retook the lead in the top of the third inning, as Correa walked, Davidson doubled and first baseman Jesse Wierzbicki tied the game with a single. Catcher Roberto Peña put down a squeeze bunt to give Quad Cities a 3-2 lead against left-hander Brandon Love, who worked 4 1/3 innings, allowed four hits and three runs.
Burlington tied it in the bottom of the third inning, as shortstop Wendell Soto homered to right field. The Bees took a 4-3 lead when designated hitter Andrew Ray homered to left field leading off the bottom of the fifth. Bees right-hander Brandon Efferson kept the lead until the seventh inning, when Wierzbicki reached on an infield single, Joyce singled, and Dineen put down a squeeze to tie it, 4-4, against right-hander Joseph Krehbiel (1-0), who earned the win with 1 2/3 innings of work.
Quad Cities will play the series finale in Burlington at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.The River Bandits tandem of right-hander Mike Hauschild (0-0) and left-hander Colton Cain (0-0) will face a Bees tandem of left-hander Ryan Crowley (0-0) and right-hander Reid Scoggins (0-0).