The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers built a 7-1 lead and held on for an 8-5 victory over the Great Lakes Loons Tuesday afternoon at Dow Diamond. Darrien Miller and Robert Moore homered for the Rattlers offense. The Wisconsin bullpen buckled, but it didn’t break as the Loons were 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded eleven runners.
Miller hit a lead-off home run in the top of the second inning to put the Rattlers (23-33) up 1-0. The homer was his third of the season and first since May 5.
Wisconsin extended their lead in the third inning. Ernesto Martinez singled to start the frame, but he was still at first base with two outs. Matt Wood knocked in Martinez with a two-out double for the 2-0 lead. Wood also extended his hitting streak to nine games, the longest hitting streak on the team this season.
Joe Gray Jr was next, and he singled to put runners on the corners. With Miller at the plate, Gray broke early for second base. Loons starting pitcher Hyun-il Choi whirled to catch Gray but was called for a balk to allow Wood to score Wisconsin’s third run.
Great Lakes (39-18) got on the board in the top of the third inning, Frank Rodriguez hit a long, lead-off home run to left.
The Loons, who clinched the First Half Eastern Division, had chances in the fourth and fifth innings to draw close as they had a runner at third with no outs in both innings. In the fourth, Wisconsin starter Edwin Jimenez escaped the game with back-to-back strikeouts and a flyout to center. Jimenez worked four innings, allowed one run, and struck out six while walking one. He left with 81 pitches under his belt through his four innings of work.
In the fifth, Ryan Brady faced the same situation and left the runner stranded on a grounder to third, a lineout to second, and a grounder to first.
The Timber Rattlers offense got a pair of big two-out hits in the top of the sixth inning to extend their lead. Eduarqui Fernández beat out an infield single with runners on second and third to score the first run of the sixth. Moore followed with a three-run home run to right-center and the Rattlers were up 7-1.
Brady pitched two more scoreless innings to maintain the lead. He allowed three hits, walked none, and struck out four.
The Wisconsin bullpen faltered a little in the bottom of the eighth as the Loons scored two runs on a hit batsman, three walks, a wild pitch, and two passed balls to pull within 7-3.
Je’Von Ward got one of those runs back for Wisconsin with a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth.
Great Lakes made it interesting in their half of the ninth as a two-run double by Griffin Lockwood-Powell with one out pulled them within 8-5 and put the tying run on deck. Brannon Jordan, Wisconsin’s fifth pitcher of the game, entered from the bullpen to and shutdown the drama by getting the final two outs for his second save of the season.
Wisconsin is 5-1 on the first six-games of their two-week trip to Michigan.
Game two of the series is Wednesday night at Dow Diamond. Jacob Misiorowski (1-0, 0.00) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. The Loons have Justin Wrobleski (2-2, 3.33) set to go for them. Misiorowski is the #4 prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers system. Wrobleski is rated as the #29 prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers system. Game time is 6:05 pm