Jack Winkler went 4-for-4 as he hit for the cycle and drove in four runs to lead the Lansing Lugnuts to a 7-1 over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Wednesday afternoon at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The Rattlers broke up the shutout with a run in the bottom of the eighth inning and their brief two-game losing streak came to an end.
The Timber Rattlers (26-37) had a great chance to score in the first inning. Robert Moore singled to start the frame. Joe Gray Jr singled with one out to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Brady Basso, the Lansing starting pitcher got the next batter to ground into an inning-ending double play. The Rattlers wouldn’t get another hit until the sixth inning and didn’t get another runner into scoring position until the eighth.
Lansing (29-35) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on back-to-back doubles by Junior Perez and Winkler.
Wisconsin starting pitcher Cameron Wagoner kept the Lugnuts off the scoreboard in the third and fourth innings, but issued two walks, including one with two outs, in the fifth inning. That second walk would be costly.
Daniel Susac greeted reliever Michele Vassalotti with a seeing-eye single to right to score Lansing’s second run.
Perez and Winkler teamed up to get the next two runs for the Lugnuts. Perez reached on his third double of the game to start the sixth. Winkler, who had singled in the fourth, homered just fair to left and the Lugnuts were up 4-0. They would tack on one more run in the inning on a two-out, RBI double by Max Muncy.
Jonny Butler homered off Sam Gardner in the top of the seventh. Then, Perez and Winkler got together one more time. Perez reached on an error. Winkler sent a sinking liner to right. Gray tried for a diving catch, but the ball got by him and Winkler raced around for third for the cycle as Perez scored for a 7-0 lead.
The Rattlers avoided the shutout in their half of the eighth. Terence Doston and Jose Acosta each singled with one out to put runners on the corners. Moore hit a line drive to left and Butler made a leaping grab for the second out with Doston tagging to score on the sacrifice fly.
Moore is the Wisconsin team leader in RBI with 32.
Game three of the series is Thursday night at Neuroscience Group Field. Stiven Cruz (2-5, 7.43) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Lansing has named Jose Dicochea (0-0, 4.15) as their starter. Game time is 6:40 pm.
Thursday is the start of Udder Tuggers weekend at the ballpark with players and coaches wearing Udder Tuggers jerseys for the remainder of the series with the Lugnuts.