PEORIA - The Peoria Chiefs jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and a good outing from Kurt Heyer made it stand en route to a 9-2 win against the Kane County Cougars on Wednesday. The win bumped the Chiefs to 22-21 going into game two of the series on Thursday night.
After Heyer tossed a scoreless top half of the first inning, the Chiefs jumped out to an early lead for the second straight game, this time off Cougars pitcher Michael Heesch. Ildemaro Vargas beat out an infield single, and Jacob Wilson singled through the left side of the infield. Jordan Walton moved both runners over with a ground out to second, and Patrick Wisdom walked to load the bases. Michael Swinson pulled a double to right field, plating all three of his teammates to put the Chiefs up 3-0 after the first inning.
The Cougars threatened in the top of the second but did not score after a runner reached third. Peoria added to the lead in the second with two more runs. Rasmus singled and was safe at second after Marco Hernandez made an error on a Martini ground ball, and Valera moved both base runners on a sacrifice bunt. Vargas singled to right field, scoring both Rasmus and Martini and extending the Chiefs lead to 5-0.
The Cougars put a pair across themselves in the third frame. Gioskar Amaya opened the inning with a triple, and was driven in on a double by Albert Almora. Dan Vogelbach doubled off the center field wall to plate Almora, cutting the Chiefs lead to 5-2 after the inning
After three-and-a-half scoreless innings Peoria scored two runs in the seventh. With two outs Vargas cracked his third single of the game and stole second with Wilson batting. Wilson singled to right field to score Vargas, and Walton doubled to plate his teammate and put the Chiefs up 7-2.
The Chiefs scored two more in the eighth. Swinson struck out on a pitch in the dirt, but advanced to second on an errant throw to first by catcher Wilson Contreras. After a pair of walks to load the bases, Valera singled to center field to score Swinson and Rasmus expanding the Chiefs lead to 9-2
Heyer (3-2) pitched seven innings giving up two runs on 10 hits and striking out one in the win. Sam Tuivailala didn't surrender a hit in one scoreless inning while striking out two. Chris Thomas tossed one scoreless inning while striking out two without allowing a hit in his Chiefs debut.