WMBD/WYZZ-TV STAFF - PEORIA, IL - Starting pitcher Starling Peralta retired the first 17 batters he faced and set a new Peoria Chiefs Stadium record with 14 strikeouts to lead the Peoria Chiefs to a 5-3 win against the Clinton LumberKings Tuesday night. The win snaps a five-game losing streak and puts the Chiefs at 17-27 in the second-half, 52-61 overall. Peoria now heads to Burlington for a three-game series with three more in Beloit before an August 15 home game against the Bees.
The Chiefs jumped on the board in the bottom of the first against Jordan Shipers. Zeke DeVoss tripled to right and Pin-Chieh Chen lifted a sac fly to score DeVoss and put the Chiefs on top, 1-0.
After Peralta stuck out the side in the second and struck out two more in the third, the Chiefs extended their lead in the bottom of the third. With two outs, DeVoss doubled and Chen singled to put runners on the corners. Chadd Krist singled to center scoring DeVoss and doubling the Chiefs lead at 2-0.
Peralta still hadn't allowed a base-runner through five innings as his strikeout total reached nine. The Chiefs added to their lead again in the bottom of the fifth. DeVoss led off with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a groundout by Chen. Krist singled to right scoring DeVoss to extend the Chiefs lead to 3-0.
Peralta struck out Dillon Hazlett to start the sixth for his 10th strikeout of the game. After David Villasuso grounded out, the LumberKings finally got on the board, and in the hit column. With Peralta not allowing a single base-runner through 5 2/3 innings, Anthony Phillips smacked a two-out homerun to left cutting Peoria's lead to 3-1. Peralta then struck out Chris Taylor for the Chiefs first 11-strikeout game since 2006.
Peoria got the run back in the bottom of the sixth. Tim Saunders was hit by pitch and stole second to start the inning. Saunders moved to third on a Wes Darvill groundout, and Yaniel Cabezas singled to left plating Saunders, giving the Chiefs a 4-1 lead.
Peralta made history in the top of the seventh. Jamal Austin singled to start the inning and stole second with Dan Paolini at the plate. Peralta bounced back to strikeout Paolini for his 12th of the night, tying the record for most strikeouts by a pitcher at Peoria Chiefs Stadium. He wasn't done there, as Peralta broke the record by striking out Keith Rivers. The righty finished the inning, and his outing, in style as Jabari Blash went down swinging for the 14th strikeout of the game.
The Chiefs added to their lead again in the bottom of the seventh. DeVoss led off with a single and stole second before advancing to third on a wild pitch. After Chen walked to put runners on the corners, Josh Corrales replaced John Taylor on the mound. Krist grounded into a double-play, allowing DeVoss to score giving the Chiefs a 5-1 lead.
Clinton made a bid for a comeback in the top of the eighth. With two outs, David Villasuso singled and Phillips walked before both runners advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch by Bryce Shafer. Taylor singled off the foot of Shafer scoring Villasuso and Austin doubled to right scoring Phillips and cutting the Chiefs lead to 5-3. After Shafer walked Paolini to load the bases, Larry Suarez came in from the bullpen and got Rivers to ground out to end the threat. Suarez retired Clinton in order in the ninth to preserve the win.
Peralta (4-7) allowed one run on two hits and no walks over seven innings, while striking out 14. Shafer allowed two runs on three hits and two walks over 2/3 innings of work. Suarez worked 1 1/3 innings perfect innings, striking out one while picking up his first save of the season.