Vincent Velasquez struck out eight Peoria Chiefs in five shutout innings, and Juan Minaya kept the home team from putting a runner in scoring position until one out in the ninth inning of a 4-1 victory for the Quad Cities River Bandits, who matched a season high with their sixth straight win Tuesday night at Dozer Park.
After the offense impressed in a four-game home sweep of Kane County at Modern Woodmen Park coming out of the All-Star Break open the second half at Modern Woodmen Park, the pitching was superb in the second half road opener. Velasquez (6-3) started the game by striking out three of the first four batters and only allowed two hits - each of which came with two outs. Chiefs first baseman Jeremy Schaffer and center fielder Nick Martini singled in the second and fifth innings, respectively. The right-hander finished his third five-shutout-inning performance of the season and struck out eight batters for the fourth time in an appearance this season.
Quad Cities (5-0 second half, 43-31 overall) had two first-inning hits but did not reach the scoreboard until the third inning against right-hander Brad Watson (0-1), who faced his former team in his Midwest League season debut. River Bandits center fielder Brett Phillips drew a leadoff walk, went to second base on a balk and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With one out, Watson then hit shortstop Carlos Correa with a pitch on the right forearm. Correa stayed in the game to run the bases and would play one-half inning on defense before giving way to a pinch hitter in the fourth. Jesse Wierzbicki brought in Phillips with a sacrifice fly to left field the moved Correa to second. Pena drove home Correa with a single to left field.
In the fourth inning, Austin Elkins hit a leadoff triple, and left fielder Jordan Scott brought him home with a single. Scott later stole second and went to third on an infield single by center fielder Teoscar Hernandez. Then Jobduan Morales pinch hit for Correa with an RBI single to right field for a 4-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Morales went to play first base for the first time this season, as Wierzbicki moved to second, and Elkins shifted to shortstop.
Minaya started the sixth inning and allowed one hit and one walk in his first three innings. Jacob Wilson doubled in the ninth and scored on a Patrick Wisdom sacrifice fly to make it 4-1. The Chiefs (1-4, 39-33) used three relievers to no-hit Quad Cities the final five innings.
The River Bandits continue their series in Peoria Wednesday night at 7 p.m., when All-Star right-hander Jordan Jankowski (3-0) opposes Chiefs right-hander Cory Jones (2-1).