Quad Cities River Bandits right-hander Chris Devenski pitched a season-high seven innings of nine-hit, one-run ball, and his teammates broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run fifth inning in a 7-1 win that snapped the Cedar Rapids Kernels' eight-game winning streak in front of 3,882 at Modern Woodmen Park Thursday night.
The River Bandits (34-24 second half, 72-55 overall) moved within 5 ½ games of the first-place Kernels (40-18, 80-46) in the Midwest League Western Division second-half standings. With a loss by the Peoria Chiefs Thursday, Quad Cities' magic number to clinch a second-half playoff berth is five. Any combination of Peoria losses and Quad Cities wins adding to five clinches the latter a playoff spot.
Devenski (3-3) worked around a pair of singles in the first inning and lone singles in the second and third. In the fourth, he allowed a leadoff double by Kernels right fielder Adam Brett Walker, and designated hitter Bo Altobelli hit a one-out RBI single that made it 1-0. Altobelli tried scoring from second base on a two-out single by catcher Michael Quesada, but center fielder Teoscar Hernandez threw him out at the plate to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Hernandez hit a leadoff single for the first hit against right-hander Jose Berrios (7-6). Hernandez then stole second base, went to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Danry Vasquez. In a 1-1, fifth-inning tie, designated hitter Austin Elkins drew a one-out walk, and catcher Roberto Pena singled to put runners at first and third bases. Right fielder Jordan Scott then put a bunt single up the first-base line that brought in Elkins for the go-ahead run. Second baseman Tony Kemp grounded an RBI single to right field, and shortstop Carlos Correa later smacked a two-run double to left-center field off right-hander Christian Powell. All five runs were charged to Berrios, who allowed four hits and three walks while striking out four batters in 4 2/3 innings.
Devenski retired six straight batters in the fifth and sixth innings, and after two straight singles opened the seventh, he struck out the next three hitters to finish with a season-high eight. It was the first seven-inning start for Quad Cities since Joe Bircher's seven innings Aug. 3. Right-hander Zach Morton followed with two scoreless innings to finish the win.
Quad Cities added a pair of runs off Powell in the seventh, with two Kernels errors and two walks adding to a Hernandez single.
The River Bandits and Kernels meet for their final regular-season game at 7 p.m. Friday. Quad Cities left-hander Joe Bircher (3-3) will start against Cedar Rapids right-hander Hudson Boyd (4-4).