Alex De Jesus hit for the cycle and the Great Lakes Loons beat the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 13-4 at Down Diamond on Thursday night. The Loons had nineteen hits in the game and scored ten of their thirteen runs after there were two outs.
Great Lakes (35-25) scored twice on three doubles in the bottom of the first inning. Jorbit Vivas started the inning with a double, but he was still at second base with two outs as Wisconsin starting pitcher Zach Mort retired the next two batters. De Jesus cashed in the run for the Loons with a double down the line in left. Then, Jose Ramos hit a high popup down the line in right. The ball dropped in between the fielders for a double to score De Jesus for a 2-0 lead.
The Loons doubled their lead in the bottom of the second on a two-out, two-run double by Diego Cartaya.
The Timber Rattlers (34-25) had chances early in the game against Loons starting pitcher Nick Nastrini but could not get a big hit with two-outs.
Wisconsin loaded the bases in the first inning on a lead-off single by Tyler Black and a pair of two-out walks before Nastrini got the final out on a flyout to right. In the second, Arbert Cipion walked and Black singled with two outs before Nastrini got the final out and kept the Rattlers off the scoreboard.
De Jesus hit a lead-off home run in the third and the Loons were up 5-0.
Ramos doubled in two more runs with a drive off the wall in right-center in the bottom of the fourth for a two-out double that knocked Wisconsin starting pitcher Zach Mort out of the game. Imanol Vargas welcomed reliever Christian Tripp to the game with a double high off the wall in right to score Ramos for an 8-0 lead.
Nastrini struck out nine and allowed three hits over 4-2/3 innings before leaving the game on his pitch count.
Great Lakes poured on the offense in the bottom of the fifth. Jonny DeLuca started the inning with a home run, his fourteenth of the season. Three more runs scored with two outs and all of them were unearned. De Jesus tripled to the corner in right with two on and two outs. Ramos lined the next pitch for an RBI single and the Loons were up 12-0.
The Timber Rattlers got on the scoreboard with four runs in the top of the sixth. Wes Clarke cracked a home run to start the inning. It was Clarke’s eighth home run of the season. Wisconsin got a two-out double from Cipion later in the inning to score two runs. Ethan Murray singled home Cipion for the final run of the inning.
De Jesus got his cycle with a leadoff single in the seventh and he would score later in the inning on a single by Ryan January. He scored the final run of the game when Ryan January singled to knock in De Jesus.
Ashton McGee went from first base to the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning and struck out De Jesus while pitching a scoreless inning.
The loss dropped Wisconsin’s elimination number to three games in the first half Western Division playoff race. The Cedar Rapids Kernels, the Western Division leaders, lost 10-7 to the Dayton Dragons at home on Thursday night. The Timber Rattlers are 3-1/2 games behind the Kernels with six games remaining in the half.