PEORIA - Despite a three-run seventh inning and a strong late push, the Peoria Chiefs couldn't overcome a six-run deficit against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Sunday night. The Chiefs dropped to 24-23 before the rubber game of their three-game series with the Timber Rattlers on Monday.
Chiefs starter Joe Cuda pitched two perfect innings to begin the game, and wiggled out of a jam in the third. With runners on first and third with nobody out, Cuda fanned Jose Sermo, threw out Tyrone Taylor on a sacrifice bunt and got Michael Reed to ground out to short to end the frame.
Wisconsin broke through against Cuda in the fourth inning. Max Walla walked to lead off the stanza, moved to second on an Adam Giacalone single and Alfredo Rodriguez loaded the bases with a single. A fielders' choice by Orlando Arcia plated Walla for a 1-0 Rattlers lead.
The Timber Rattlers added to their lead with two more runs in the sixth inning. Walla once again opened the frame with a walk. This time he stole second and scampered to third when Adam Ehrlich's throw ended up in centerfield. After Giacalone struck out, Rodriguez homered to left field to score Walla and extend Wisconsin's lead to 3-0. After two more runners reached, Cuda escaped the inning by ringing up Sermo and recording his career-high 11th strike out.
Wisconsin broke the game open with three runs in the seventh inning against Sam Tuivailala. Taylor and Reed reached on succeeding singles to open the frame, and Walla drove both of them in with a triple to right field. Roache singled up the middle to score Walla, extending the Timber Rattlers lead to 6-0.
With Magnifico out of the game, the Chiefs took advantage of new pitcher Leonard Lorenzo in the seventh inning. Michael Swinson reached with a one-out walk, and Carson Kelly moved him to second with a single to center. After Nick Martini flew out to center, Ehrlich drove in Swinson with a base-knock to left and Breyvic Valera singled to load the bases. Ildemara Vargas singled to right to bring in Kelly and Mejia slicing Wisconsin's lead to 6-3. But Lorenzo escaped the inning with a three-run lead as Alex Mejia bounced out to shortstop.