WMBD/WYZZ-TV STAFF - Peoria, IL - The Peoria Chiefs were knocked off by the Burlington Bees Friday night in the final of a three-game set with an 8-3 loss at Peoria Chiefs Stadium. The Chiefs, who are 5-10 in the second half and 40-44 on the season, are on the road tomorrow starting a series with Cedar Rapids.
Burlington was quick to score off Starling Peralta in the top of the first. Eliezer Mesa singled on the first pitch of the game and advanced to second on a Peralta wild pitch. With two-outs, Wade Kirkland grounded a ball to Dustin Geiger who couldn't field the ball cleanly and Mesa scored to put the Bees up 1-0. Kirkland was able to score on two more wild pitches by Peralta and Burlington lead 2-0.
The Chiefs were able to get on the board in the first. Taiwan Easterling hit a slow chopper to Kirkland who hit Easterling as he was running down the line and the ball skipped near the Chiefs bullpen and Easterling ended up at third. Geiger grounded out to short and Easterling came home to score, cutting Burlington's lead to 2-1.
In the top of the fourth, the Bees added to their lead. Max Muncy led the inning off with a single to left center and Kirkland drove a fly ball into the left field berm to increase their lead to 4-1.
Geiger continued his hot hitting in the bottom of the fourth. On the first pitch offering from Raul Alcantara, Geiger blasted a homer into the left to cut the deficit to 4-2. It gave Geiger four home runs in the series and marked the third game in a row in which he homered.
The Bees used a couple of Chiefs miscues to tack onto their lead in the fifth. John Nester reached on an infield single but was forced out on a ground ball by Aaron Shipman. A ground ball to Geiger for a possible inning-ending double play found its way into left field and Shipman went to third putting runners on the corners. Mesa stole second base to put two runners in scoring position. Sean Jamieson struck out for the second out of the inning but a ground ball to Hoilman was mishandled to bring home Shipman and Mesa and the Bees increased their lead to 6-2.
Peoria kept clawing away in the bottom of the fifth. Sergio Burruel led off with a walk but was erased on an Oliver Zapata double play. Pin-Chieh Chen walked and Easterling doubled into center field and Chen scored to make the score 6-3.
The seventh inning brought home another run for Burlington. Larry Suarez, who entered in the sixth, walked John Nester to lead off the inning and he went on to steal second with Shipman at the plate. Shipman walked and Mesa added a walk of his own. Following the three walks, Jamieson lifted a ball into centerfield to score Nester and give the Bees a 7-3 lead. Suarez got Muncy to pop out to Javier Baez and was lifted for Sheldon McDonald. Kirkland greeted McDonald with a liner to left, bringing home Shipman and increasing the lead 8-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Chiefs started a rally off Jonathan Joseph starting with Zapata reaching on an error by Kirkland and Chen walking. With Baez up, he grounded a ball to Kirkland and advanced both Zapata and Chen into scoring position. Joseph though struck out Wes Darvill and Yasiel Balaguert to end the threat with Peoria still trailing 8-3.
Peralta (1-4) finished the night with five innings pitched and a season-high five strikeouts. He allowed six runs, two earned, on four hits and no walks while taking the loss. In 1 2/3 innings pitched, Suarez allowed no hits but three walks led to two runs and he didn't have a strikeout. McDonald provided another great effort going 2 1/3 scoreless innings allowing three hits and four strikeouts.